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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Group 1-winning rider O'Neill handed 21-day ban for whip offences

Dane O'Neill: seven days of ban have been deferred
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Group 1-winning rider Dane O'Neill has been banned for 21 days after being referred to the BHA for whip offences.

Second jockey to leading owner-breeder Hamdan Al Maktoum, O'Neill was found in breach of whip rules after riding Thammin at Kempton this month and was subsequently referred to British racing's ruling body as it was the rider's fifth offence that warranted a suspension of between two and six days within the previous six months.

An inquiry took place at the BHA's London offices on Thursday morning when the 42-year-old, who won the 2015 Commonwealth Cup on star sprinter Muhaarar, was handed his punishment.

Seven days of his ban have been deferred until January 11 and O'Neill's suspension runs from October 27 to November 11.

Duke has no regrets after sale of Warm The Voice

Brendan Duke has expressed his satisfaction about being able to repay the faith instilled in him by Jim and Jackie Bolger after the sale of their promising two-year-old colt Warm The Voice, who will continue his racing career in Hong Kong after being snapped up recently.

Warm The Voice, a winner of three races and a fine third behind Saxon Warrior in the Group 1 Beresford Stakes at Naas on his final start in Ireland, has been purchased for an "extremely generous sum of money", according to Duke.

He said: “It has filled me with an enormous amount of pleasure to be able to repay the faith that Jim and Jackie Bolger have placed in me.

“They didn't put me under any pressure to sell the horse, but I received a very generous sum of money for Warm The Voice, and after considering the offer for 20 minutes, I said yes.

“It was a business decision and I have no regrets. We received the type of sum that we felt matched our high opinion of the horse.”

Middleham funeral date for Pat Haslam

The funeral of Patrick Haslam will take place at midday on Thursday, October 26, at St Alkelda Church, Middleham DL8 4PQ, and not on October 27 as previously stated.

The popular and respected Group 1-winning trainer, who sent out close to 1,000 winners in a career spanning five decades and almost 40 years, died aged 69 last weekend.

Stewarding review reaches next stage

The first stage of the BHA's formal industry consultation regarding the future model for racecourse stewarding has closed with the regulator having received 118 responses from a range of individuals, groups and stakeholder bodies.

The BHA will now begin work on developing detailed recommendations that could lead to the introduction of a professional stewarding model.

Chief regulatory officer Jamie Stier said: “We now go into the second phase of this process with an open mind as to what the proposals will look like.

"However, we remain committed to the fact that any solution should meet the initial objectives of delivering a stewarding model which provides confidence, accountability, consistency, quality, independence, sustainability and efficiency.”

Goodwood and York up for RP award

Cartmel, Fontwell, Goodwood, Windsor and York have been shortlisted for the Racing Post Readers Award at the 2017 Racecourse Association Showcase & Awards.

More than 1,000 entries were received and the judges have whittled them down to five tracks deemed to offer the best customer service on a racecourse.

Louise Agran, Racing Post marketing director, said: "We are proud to be supporting the award again this year, and are thrilled at the number of nominations from our readers and social media followers.

"This year they responded more enthusiastically than ever when asked to share their accounts of exceptional customer service at British racecourses.

"The level of feedback is testament to the great work racecourses have been doing to deliver outstanding customer service throughout the year and our congratulations – and good luck – go to all five finalists.

"From the feedback we received, it is clear that both York and Goodwood continue to be held in extremely high regard, while particular praise must go to Cartmel, Fontwell and Windsor for a number of glowing reviews each received."

Winners of the ten categories will be announced at Newbury on November 16, and 26 courses have been nominated, with Beverley, Goodwood and Pontefract up for four awards.

Lee reappointment confirmed

Paul Lee has been reappointed chairman of the Levy Board until April 1, 2019, culture secretary Karen Bradley has confirmed.

Lee initially took over the role in October 2009 and his appointment was renewed for a further four years from October 2013.

The Levy Board had been set to be disbanded early in 2018 as part of the government's levy reforms, but the timetable slipped following this year's snap general election, and the body is set to continue operating until the end of March 2019.

O'Brien raid on American National

Katnap, runner-up in the Topham Chase at Aintree in April, will represent Joseph O'Brien in the $400,000 American Grand National at Far Hills in New Jersey on Saturday.

Davy Russell will ride the ten-year-old, who finished sixth in a 2m4f handicap chase at Navan on his reappearance last month.

O'Brien said: "Katnap is in the US and travelled over well. It's a valuable race and we're hoping he'll pick up a share of the prize-money."

Katnap will be a second runner in the US for O'Brien, whose Intricately ran in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita last year.

Trainers' survey set up

The Racecourse Association and National Trainers Federation have teamed up to run a survey to help tracks better understand trainers’ motivations to run horses and how they can improve the experience for trainers and owners.

RCA chairman Maggie Carver said: “We've worked with the NTF to develop this survey and would like support from all trainers to get their feedback on the motivations to run horses.

"We very much hope the survey can be used to drive positive change in terms of the experience for trainers and their owners, and also to inform our prize-money and spending decisions.”

Trainers are asked to complete the survey by Tuesday. The link is

Ascot lands hospitality award

Ascot has won a Group Leisure & Travel Award, the track beating off some stiff competition, including the BBC Good Food Show, to win the 'best event for groups' category.

Voted for by readers of Group Leisure & Travel magazine, the awards were handed out at a ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel.

Ascot's award is based on the complete customer experience, from parking to food options, for groups of 49-plus.

Australian sprinter Lankan Rupee retired

The curtain has come down on the racing career of Australian champion sprinter Lankan Rupee.

Trainer Mick Price announced his retirement after Lankan Rupee finished sixth in Saturday's Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield.

Lankan Rupee shot to prominence during a winning spree in 2014 which included Group 1 wins in the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes. It earned him the ranking as the world's highest-rated sprinter.

He added another two Group 1 wins the following season in the Manikato Stakes and Lightning Stakes, but the eight-year-old had been restricted to just six starts in the past two years because of injury.

De Wesselow memorial service

A memorial service for Ian de Wesselow will be held at 2.30pm on Friday, November 10 at St Mary's church, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, and afterwards at Phyllis Court.

De Wesselow, who died this month aged 86, built Raceform into a key player in the world of racing publishing over a 40-year period and launched the careers of many journalists.




It was a business decision and I have no regrets
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