Daily News Wrap

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Thinkin' Big to Hong Kong

Star 3-year-old stayer Thinkin' Big (High Chaparral {Ire}) has been sold to Hong Kong.

Aquis Farm's Tom Inglis, head of Asian and Private Sales, brokered the deal on behalf of the colt's previous owners Dodmark Thoroughbreds, who also bred the colt.

Aquis announced the deal through Twitter on Tuesday night, confirming that Thinkin' Big would be trained by Frankie Lor in Hong Kong.

Thinkin' Big was prepared by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and won the G3 Gloaming S. at just his fourth start.

He started favourite for the G1 Spring Champion S, where he finished third before bouncing back to win the G3 Norman Robinson S. at Caulfield at his next start.

He was a well-supported favourite for the G1 Victoria Derby but finished 12th.

Waterhouse held the horse in such a high opinion as a staying prospect that she intended to start him in the G1 Melbourne Cup should he have won the Derby.

End of the road for durable Red Excitement

The curtain has come down on the career of Gerald Ryan’s long-serving stable servant Red Excitement (Excites).

A joint injury has forced connections to call time on the prolific stakes performer.

Ryan said the 9-year-old was found to have filling in his offside front leg and he and the owners decided he would be retired.

The winner of 14 of his 62 starts from 1000 to 2100 metres and placed another 17 times, Red Excitement overcame a serious tendon injury in 2014 and went on to take his earnings to more than $1.2 million.

“He has been a very special horse and it will be a sad day when he leaves the stable,” Ryan said.

“We found some filling in a joint in the leg that's never had a problem.

“Without the help of Tim Boland at Limitless Lodge it's very doubtful he would have raced again after he hurt his tendon when he was four.

“We will treat him over the next couple of weeks and have a send-off for him and will find him a nice home. He will be missed around here.”

One of Red Excitement’s top performances was in last year's Group 2 Chelmsford S. when he led the field by a big margin and was only run down in the final 200 metres by Winx (Street Cry {IRE}).

Ellerslie sighter for smart 3YO

Exciting 3-year-old Dawn Patrol (NZ) (Dawn Approach {IRE}) will get his first sight of the Ellerslie track on Thursday as part of his preparation for a return to racing on the course on Boxing Day.

He has been freshened since his gallant second to Madison County (NZ) (Pins) in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 10 and trainer Frank Ritchie.

“I’m taking him up for a gallop to give him a look at Ellerslie,” Ritchie said.

“All his three races have been left-handed and I want to let him get the feel of Ellerslie before he races there on Boxing Day. It always helps if they’ve had a run around Ellerslie.”

G1 performer, Dawn Patrol

Dawn Patrol’s Boxing Day mission is the Listed Shaw’s Wire Ropes Uncle Remus S. and Ritchie plans to reassess his progress after that event with a view to his main mission, the Karaka Million 3YO Classic at Ellerslie on January 26.

“If he needs another race between times there’s one at Ellerslie on January 13 which will fit in nicely, but I won’t be making a decision until after the Uncle Remus,” Ritchie said. “He mightn’t need another one.”

Though Dawn Patrol hasn’t raced right-handed, two of his four trials have been that way round and those are the only two trials in which he has been beaten.

He holds a nomination for the G1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 2, but Ritchie is unsure whether his stamina will stretch to the staying test.

“I’d like to think he can get a mile and a quarter and, if he won or ran on strongly to be placed in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic, we’d have to run him in the Avondale Guineas to see if he could get to the Derby,” he said.

New Caulfield base

Grahame Begg has expanded his training operation to Caufield.

Since moving to Victoria in 2016, the former Sydney trainer has operated out of Pinecliff, a private facility at Mt Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula.

With success spearheaded by G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Written By (Written Tycoon), there has been generated interest from clients resulting in Begg seeking extra stabling.

Grahame Begg's stable star, Written By

At the beginning of this month, he took up residency at Neerim Lodge at Caulfield where he has 20 boxes to complement the 10 he has at Pinecliff.

“I was a bit limited with what I could do down at Pinecliff,” Begg said.

“We're still keeping our base down there, but we needed more room and the opportunity came up so we took it.

“I don't want to train any more than that (30) and at Pinecliff I couldn't accommodate that number.”

Exceedingly Easy (All Too Hard) was the first winner from the Caulfield stable when she shed her maiden tag win at Mornington and will run in Wednesday’s Ladbrokes Info Hub H. on her home track.

Bonuses in place again

The Australian Turf Club will again be offering bonuses to the winner and placegetters of the G1 Sydney Cup.

Owners and trainers of the winner, second and third placed horses in several key staying races across Australia and New Zealand will be eligible.

Owners receive a total $100,000 bonus and the trainer $50,000 bonus if their horse wins or is placed in the 2019 Sydney Cup, after winning or being placed in designated staying races.

ATC chairman Matthew McGrath said the bonus system aimed to increase participation in staying events.

“In recent years we have significantly increased prize money for the Schweppes Sydney Cup and this bonus system is further recognition of our focus on providing more incentives for stayers and their connections.

“In 2018 the incentive benefited not only the Sydney Cup by attracting the largest field in over 15 years, but it is also shared value to those race clubs that conduct important pathway races.”

The Sydney Cup and the Auckland Cup are the only other two Australasian Group 1 races over the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup.

The designated races to qualify for the bonuses are: the G1 The Metropolitan, the G2 Perth Cup at Ascot, the G1 Auckland Cup, the G2 Adelaide Cup and the G3 N E Manion Cup.

NSW welcomes dual licenses

Racing NSW has opened the door for dual jockey/trainer licences.

Over two years after Victoria piloted a program of dual licences in order to create a pathway for jockeys to become trainers, NSW will allow the same arrangements, following on from a move from Queensland last month.

“Racing NSW considers the integrity of thoroughbred racing to be paramount at all times and must be always the first factor satisfied before any change,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said on Tuesday.

“Accordingly, The Board of Racing NSW received a report which provided confidence that any integrity concerns previously raised, had been addressed by the introduction of LR56.

“Racing NSW received submissions from several interstate dual licence holders, led by Michelle Payne, who explained the benefits of allowing dual licenses."

“Racing NSW determined that by allowing jockeys to transition into a training career whilst continuing to compete as a jockey, will provide a sustainable business model for these riders and allow them to continue to have a career within the racing industry."

V'landys paid tribute to Payne's persistence in achieving the change.

“Without the determination and drive of Michelle Payne this may not have come to fruition.”

North Queensland-based Peter Cullen became the first person in Queensland to be granted a dual jockey and trainer licence last month, while there are several dual license holders in Victoria, including Payne Linda Meech and Jackie Beriman.

Conditions of the NSW trainer/jockey licence include.

- A person may not hold a dual licence for more than five years to encourage the transition into training.

- A dual licence holder based in NSW must not train more than five horses and must have more than 24 race rides each racing season.

- A dual licence holder that is the trainer of a horse entered in a race, may ride that horse but shall not be declared for, or ride, any other horse in that race.

- In the event that a dual licence holder is the trainer of two or more horses in the one race, the Dual Licence Holder shall not be permitted to ride in such race.

- Dual licence holders based interstate may compete in NSW as a jockey/trainer, subject to the terms and conditions set by their interstate licence.