Gardiner-Hill takes over over as BHA head of handicapping
Musselburgh has crowned another capacity sell-out Stobo Castle Ladies Day by extending a sponsorship deal with Scotland’s only destination health spa.
Stobo Castle has committed to a further five-year relationship with the track’s premier summer raceday and the new agreement, worth around £150,000, will run from 2019 until 2023.
Located in the Scottish Borders, the Stobo Castle luxury brand has become synonymous with Musselburgh’s Ladies Day, which attracts more than 10,000 racegoers each June and sells out every year.
Musselburgh racecourse senior operations and commercial manager Sarah Montgomery said: “We are delighted Stobo Castle has opted to partner with us on Ladies Day until 2023 and we look forward to making the next five years as successful and ground-breaking as the first six.”
Gardiner-Hill era begins
Dominic Gardiner-Hill takes over on Sunday as BHA head of handicapping from Phil Smith, who is retiring after 23 years in the role.
Gardiner-Hill has been deputy head of handicapping for the BHA for ten years and is approaching 25 years of service with the regulator, having joined the then-BHB in July 1993. Before that he was a jumps handicapper for the Racing Post for six years.
As well as the day-to-day running of the department, Gardiner-Hill will be tasked with the implementations of an internal handicapping review carried out last year by journalist and broadcaster Lydia Hislop, further updates on which will be given in due course.
BHA chief operating officer Richard Wayman said: “It’s something of a changing of the guard with Phil retiring after such a long period at the helm, during which time he has been an outstanding leader of the handicapping team, as well as a fine ambassador for the BHA and British racing.
“Equally, Dominic has been deputy head of handicapping for a number of years so we're all anticipating the transition to be a smooth one.”
Hood elected mayor
Rachel Hood, former president of the Racehorse Owners Association, has been elected to serve her second term as mayor of Newmarket. Hood, the wife of trainer John Gosden, last wore the chain of office in 2014-15.
"I want to thank the councillors for putting their trust in me and I will do everything I can for the town," she said.
Single-game wagering in Delaware
Delaware is likely to become the first state to offer wagering on single-game professional sports outside of Nevada since the US Supreme Court repealed a federal law prohibiting states from authorising sports betting.
The state’s three casinos, all located at racetracks, can begin taking single-game bets early in the afternoon on Tuesday, according to an announcement made by the state’s department of finance and attorney general. That includes Delaware Park in Stanton, which opened its 2018 meeting this week.
“Delaware has all the necessary legal and regulatory authority to move forward with a full-scale sports gaming operation, and we look forward to next week’s launch,” Delaware governor John Carney said in a press release.
“We’re hopeful this will bring even more visitors into Delaware to see first-hand what our state has to offer.”
IJF to benefit from Royal Ascot tailor
Oliver Brown, the British menswear tailor and 'official licensee' to Royal Ascot, will be donating five per cent of profits from the sale of all accessories from its Royal Ascot Collection to the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Ascot's chief commercial officer Juliet Slot said: “We proudly support the valuable work of the Injured Jockeys Fund, both at Ascot racedays and for the duration of Royal Ascot.
"In 2017 we raised more than £20,000 through initiatives such as donating £1 from every fine dining cover sold and inviting IJF tipsters to entertain and educate racegoers during their day at the races.
"Oliver Brown’s initiative to further raise funds and awareness complements our own work with the IJF and we wholeheartedly support the campaign.”
The initiative launches today and runs until August 31.
Death of Gygistar
Grade 1 winner Gygistar has died in Lexington, Kentucky, aged 19.
The gelding's death was reported on the social media accounts of Diana Baker, who had cared for him following his retirement from racing. Her husband, Chris Baker, had been farm manager for the Spring Hill Farm of the late Edward P Evans, who bred and raced Gygistar.
"Gygi was a handful both on and off the track," Baker wrote. "My family gave Gygi a home when his breeder/my husband’s late boss died. It has been a joy, a challenge, and an honour. We loved him. He has left a huge void."
Gygistar earned $1,110,385, with his top-level triumph coming in the 2002 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga.
Hughes loving life as a jockey
Love Island star Chris Hughes has passed an assessment on his riding ability at the Northern Racing College, taking him a step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a jockey.
Hughes is due to compete in the 'Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives' charity race at York a fortnight on Saturday.
His next challenge is a fitness test, at Jack Berry House this Tuesday, which he needs to pass before being allowed in the race, which raises money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Hughes can be supported at Just Giving.
Tests included sessions on mechanical training horses, before going out on the gallops on former racehorses to ride at speed and practice starts.
Hughes, an ambassador for Coral, said: “I enjoyed it, it was a great day, and we all passed, which was the main thing. It was good to do the rider assessment and get it out the way. It’s a confidence booster to know you’re capable of doing the race.
"I’m very keen to win. I think everyone is, but we just want to have fun. I'd say that’s the main thing, but I do want to win.”
Follow Hughes' journey to becoming a jockey at Coral/Loveracing
Two awards for Ayr
Ayr has been voted Sports Venue of the Year at the third 2018 Scottish Hospitality Awards held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow.
The finalists in the category included Hampden Park, Celtic Park, Ibrox Park, Hamilton racecourse and Murrayfield Stadium.
It is the second occasion Ayr has claimed the honour having been crowned the first winner in 2016.
The aim of the awards is to acknowledge the success of local professionals and establishments from restaurants and hotels to festivals and venues. The winners are chosen by members of the public.
At the same awards ceremony Ayr’s Western House Hotel was crowned Hotel of the Year after first winning the regional category.
Ayr racecourse and Western House Hotel managing director David Brown said: “It's a huge honour to receive these two prestigious awards. Being voted Sports Venue of the Year is a tremendous achievement for the racecourse team when you consider the major sporting venues there are in Scotland."