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Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate fields continue to take shape

Francis of Assisi: winning the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington last year
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Melbourne's Spring Carnival features continued to take shape on Tuesday, with acceptors unveiled for both the BMW Caulfield Cup and Ladbrokes Cox Plate.

Charlie Appleby enjoyed a memorable Australian campaign last year and has four horses in the frame for the Caulfield Cup, in which his Scottish finished second last October, with Francis Of Assisi joined by stablemate Kidmenever.

Willie Mullins also has two horses in contention with Wicklow Brave and Riven Light, while Aidan O'Brien has accepted with Johannes Vermeer. Hugo Palmer's Wall Of Fire and Hughie Morrison's Marmelo also feature.

Appleby has accepted with Folkswood in the Cox Plate on October 28, which also features Riven Light and Johannes Vermeer, with the latter's stablemate Taj Mahal also involved, along with Jane Chapple-Hyam's Kaspersky.

The ante-post favourites for both races, Humidor in the Caulfield Cup and the great Winx in the Cox Plate, also featured among the 70 and 48 horses accepted with in each contest respectively.

Dubai Carnival races upgraded

Three races during the Dubai Carnival have been upgraded. January's Singspiel Stakes has been upgraded from Listed to Group 3 status, as has the Dubawi Stakes.

The Meydan Sprint, meanwhile, which represents the culmination of the five-furlong programme, has been boosted from Group 3 to Group 2 status.

As well as the upgrades, the Dubai Racing Club also announced the Listed Meydan Classic has been increased to a mile from seven furlongs.

The announcement came as details of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival were unveiled, comprising 65 races across ten fixtures, beginning on Thursday, January 11 and concluding on Dubai World Cup day, March 31.

Puerto Rico racing bosses working to protect horses at hurricane hit facility

Efforts are under way to ensure the welfare of horses caught up in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in the devastated US territory of Puerto Rico.

Officials at Hipodromo Camarero posted an update on Facebook confirming there had been severe damage sustained by the facility.

"We're preparing a plan to ensure we can return to our operations as soon as possible," said the statement.

"At the very least, the main thing for the Camarero family is the safety of all our employees and horses. We're ensuring that horses are safe, fed, and cared for. Our management staff is providing the areas and access routes so that employees and industry officials are safe in our facilities.

"We're hopeful none of our employees have suffered beyond material loss and that they are safe in the family."

According to the group Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, there are 864 active thoroughbreds at Hipodromo Camarero, as well as some 100 other horses acting as lead ponies and other such jobs. At least four horses are believed to have been killed by the storm.

CTA confirmed it is working with the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the Jockey Club and the United States Equestrian Federation, among other organisations, to get feed and medication to the facility.

Major League Soccer side in bid to build stadium at Belmont Park

New York City FC is preparing a bid to build a new stadium on land at Belmont Park racecourse, according to reports.

The MLS side, which is owned by the group that is also responsible for Manchester City, have played their home games at baseball side the New York Yankees' stadium since they joined the league in 2015.

A bid from New York City FC could go up against one from National Hockey League Side the New York Islanders, but Newsday reported that the Belmont site is not the football team's preferred location.

The same report said a decision on what to do with the land will not be made for months, with the deadline for proposals coming on Thursday.

Alcala could bid for six-timer on Saturday

Alcala, arguably the standout horse of the summer jumping season having gone undefeated in five runs from June through to August, could bid for a six-timer in the £50,000 Listed chase at Market Rasen on Saturday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old features among 17 entries for the Prelude Handicap Chase, while Work In Progress, trained by Nicholls' former assistant Dan Skelton, is another to take the eye having won his last three.

Gordon Elliott is far from a Market Rasen regular but has entered Walkabout for the £35,000 Listed handicap hurdle, also backed by 

Walkabout finished in midfield in a 1m2f Flat handicap when last seen, but was an easy winner over hurdles at Ballinrobe the time before. 

Newman off mark after spell on sidelines

Lee Newman celebrated his 36th birthday by riding his first winner since returning from injury last week.

The former British champion apprentice won on Golgotha in a mile handicap at Northam in Western Australia on Monday.

Newman had spent more than five months on the sidelines, having suffered damage to his spleen and ribs in a three-horse pile-up on April 1.

Read all about Wincanton 

Wincanton is celebrating 150 years of racing at the Somerset jumps course with the publication of a commemorative book, Wincanton Racecourse The First 150 Years.

Written by Dorset-based George Bingham, the 60-page hardback explores the history of Wincanton with a series of anecdotes, stories and photographs.

Ten-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls has penned an introduction, reflecting on the part Wincanton has played in his career, both as a jockey and trainer.

Sir Mark Prescott recalls his first winner on his first ride at the age of 16 – Monarian in the Shepton Mallet Novices’ Chase in 1964 – saying: “If I could have ten minutes of my life again, that would be the ten minutes I would choose. I thought I was the Messiah that National Hunt racing had been waiting for, but it took me two years to ride another!”

Fred Winter’s Kingwell Hurdle legacy – he won it three times with Bula and three times with Lanzarote during the period 1971-76 – is captured through a variety of images featuring John Francome and Richard Pitman.

Gallant grey Desert Orchid, who added hundreds to the gate whenever he appeared at Wincanton during his heyday in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is also featured.

The book, which costs £25 and can be obtained from the racecourse office and other outlets, will be officially launched at the track’s first meeting of the new campaign on October  20, with Bingham and Nicholls available for book signing at 1pm and 4pm.

The former British champion apprentice won on Golgotha in a mile handicap at Northam in Western Australia on Monday
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