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Final chance to nominate stud and stable staff for Godolphin Ireland awards

Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards: will be broadcast free-to-air on Racing TV on Wednesday June 30
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Nominations for the 2021 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards in Ireland are set to close on Monday, April 19, with industry stakeholders encouraged to put forward individuals for the ten categories on offer.

The awards have a prize fund of more than €85,000. The winner, as well as the two finalists and their employers, will take home cash prizes, while €100 will be allocated to the shortlisted candidates in eight award categories.

This year marks the sixth time Godolphin have sponsored the event, which will be broadcast free-to-air on Racing TV on Wednesday June 30.

The initiative is also supported by the Irish Stable Staff Association, the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, the Racing Post and Horse Racing Ireland.

"I would encourage all trainers, breeders, owners and managers to nominate their colleagues," said Irish Stable Staff Association CEO Bernard Caldwell.

"The awards are an excellent platform to showcase the skill and dedication which all those working in the racing and breeding industry demonstrate in their jobs all year around, none more so, than during the Covid-19 pandemic."

Nominations can be made online at www.studandstablestaffawards.ie.


Together for Racing appointments

Together for Racing International (TfRI) has appointed Rob Hezel and Anna Powell as development directors to bring to life the vision and strategy which emerged from a forum held at Newmarket in 2019.

The forum, funded by Godolphin and facilitated by Chris Grant, who is stepping down from his role of chairing the global steering group,  welcomed leading participants in racing from the USA, Australia, Japan, Ireland, France, Dubai and the UK. Its purpose was to share, collate and deliver a global plan around the key pillars of education, community engagement, and workforce and careers.

Hezel, who will continue his role as CEO of the Racing Foundation, said: “Without the vision, support and funding from Godolphin to date none of this would have been made possible.  It is now important to build on the legacy and to establish a structure, funding and governance model, to allow TfRI to contribute to supporting horseracing nations in meeting their social challenges. TfRI will help to facilitate the sustainability of the sport globally." 

Powell. who has 16 years of racing experience on an international level and in Great Britain, said: “One of our biggest priorities in developing the strategy is to engage and unite racing around the world in dealing with the sports’ common social challenges and convince stakeholders of the need to act now to protect the future of our sport.”


Owners pay tribute to 'one of the best' Ballyoptic

The owners of Ballyoptic have paid to tribute to the veteran chaser in the wake of his retirement after running in the Grand National last Saturday. 

The 11-year-old, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, refused at the 21st fence of the Aintree marathon and was soon retired by owners the Mills and Mason Partnership.

Ballyoptic won nine of his 32 career starts including the Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle in 2016 and the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in 2019. 

He also ran several fine races in defeat, coming within a nose of winning the Scottish National at Ayr in 2018 a month after he was fourth behind Presenting Percy in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

Jacky Mills, part of the Mills and Mason Partnership, said: "He's been a really fantastic horse for us over the years. He's been a dream to own and now he's coming home.

Ballyoptic and Sam Twiston-Davies clear the last en route to victory in the Swinley Chase at Ascot

"It's sad in some ways as it feels like the end of era but it's great to retire him so he's still got a good, full life to look forward to."

Mills added Ballyoptic will now be moved to private stables owned by her son and daughter-in-law, where he will enjoy his retirement alongside another of the owner's retired stars.

"We already have Ballyfitz down there, he's 20 now and is living the life of Riley. We're pleased to have Ballyoptic join him and he's more than earned his keep for us. 

"It's lovely that he's coming back in one piece and we've been so lucky to have been involved with him. We've had horses for 30 years and he's been one of the best."


Record purse for Thirk Hunt Cup

Next month's Cliff Stud Thirsk Hunt Cup will offer a record £50,000 in prize-money, track officials have confirmed. 

The race was lost last year when racing was put on hold at the outset of the cornavirus pandemic, but is back this year as the highlight of Thirsk's meeting on May 1.

James Sanderson, manager and clerk of the course at Thirsk, said: "Thirsk is very proud to be staging the richest renewal of the historic Thirsk Hunt Cup this year.

"This is only possible because of the incredible support of the race’s sponsor Cliff Stud; and in particular its proprietor Paul Sutherland, who has invested hugely in both the stud and Yorkshire racing over the past few years.

"It is very fitting that such a historic North Yorkshire race should be sponsored by such a historic North Yorkshire stud.

"This year we are delighted that ITV will broadcast the race, which means that many thousands more people will get to enjoy what is always a hugely competitive contest."


Lionel Edwards exhibition at Osborne Gallery

The British Sporting Art Trust is to hold an exhibition of the work of painter Lionel Edwards at the Osborne Studio Galley in London. 

The exhibition will encompass a full range of Edwards work, including his portrayals of horse racing scenes, and will run from April 13 to May 1. 

From next month highlights of the exhibition will move to the Glebe Gallery in Wiltshire and will feature a famous painting depicting the paddock at Cheltenham racecourse.


Tote launch initiative to win market share

The Tote is launching a new concession on Tuesday to customers in its battle to win market share from fixed-odds bookmakers.

The initiative, called Tote+, gives a 10 per cent enhancement to dividends on pool bets placed direct with tote.co.uk on all British and Irish races.

There is no cap on the stake a customer can place to receive the Tote+ enhancement and it applies to dividends over 1.20, including on the Scoop6 and Placepot. It will be available on the Tote website, app and at tote.ie for Irish customers.

Jamie Hart, UK Tote Group’s racing and liquidity director, said: "We want to reward customers for betting with us and ensure they receive the best possible value.

"Tote+, combined with Tote Guarantee, means Tote customers will never be paid less on win bets, and more if the pool price is bigger, while on all pool bets they will be receiving 10 per cent more than the official dividend every time they bet with the Tote."


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I would encourage all trainers, breeders, owners and managers to nominate their colleagues
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