Daily News Wrap

6 min read

McEvoy fillies in fine order

Star sprinting filly Sunlight (Zoustar) will step up her preparation at a jumpout at Werribee on Friday with trainer Tony McEvoy delighted with how she has returned.

Sunlight was a last start winner of the G1 Coolmore Stud S. at Flemington in November and is on track to resume in the G1 Black Caviar Lightning at the same venue on February 16.

"She's in tremendous order," McEvoy told Racing.com.

"I did something a little bit irresponsible the other day, there was a fire ban in Melbourne and I galloped her - that was very dangerous. I shouldn't have done that, she went very quick."

Tony McEvoy with Sunlight and strapper, Sarah Rutten

McEvoy was pleased with how fellow Group 1 winner Oohood (I Am Invincible) trialled at Rosehill on Tuesday when sixth, just ahead of the G1 Caulfield Guineas winner The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice).

"Oohood went back from her wide barrier and they went very slow in the trial early. She followed The Autumn Sun and went past him," McEvoy said.

"I just wanted to see her finishing the trial off and it was quite nice. Tim (Clark) was happy with how she worked."

Oohood is headed to the G2 Light Fingers S. on February 16 before likely going onto contest the G1 Surround Stakes the G1 Coolmore Classic.

Carpenter: Raiders drive ratings spike

The internationalisation of Australia's best races is behind the high rating given to them according to Racing Victoria's Executive General Manager - Racing, Greg Carpenter.

The recent Longines World's Best Racehorse Awards confirmed that Australia had 31 of the top 100 rated races in the world last year and that raised the ire of several European pundits, who feel Australian racing is overrepresented at the top.

The G1 Queen Elizabeth S., won by Winx (Street Cry {Ire}), was rated as the second best race in the world in 2018 behind the G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, while the G1 George Ryder S. and the G1 Colgate Optic White S., both won by Winx, were equally recognised as the world's best miles.

Carpenter, who is on the rankings committee, told RSN that this is due to more than just the Winx effect, with the higher quality of international raiders providing a boost to Australia.

The race rankings are determined by the ratings of the first four placegetters and Carpenter said the nine European horses that met that criteria all ran up to marks of 115 or higher.

"(Caulfield Cup winner) Best Solution (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), a multiple Group One winner in Europe, came out with a figure of 121, which was agreed on by all the handicappers of the world," Carpenter said.

"There were nine horses from Europe that came out to Australia and competed in our (Group One) races and finished top four and their ratings are used to underpin the ratings of Australian races."

"We are getting quality horses coming from Europe and running in our races."

"Some are winning, some are finishing top four, and that reflects the strength of the Australian races run this year."

Record Slipper numbers

A record 384 2-year-olds paid up for second acceptances in the G1 Golden Slipper S, to be held at Rosehill on March 23.

An increase of 7 per cent of last year's number at the same stage, the 284 includes substantial representation from Peter and Paul Snowden (40), Lindsay Park (33), Godolphin (31), Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott (25), Tony McEvoy (22), and Team Hawkes.

All of the leading chances are featured including the current favourite Tassort (Brazen Beau) and stablemate Exhilarates (Snitzel), the Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner.

Exhilarates is one of 34 of Snitzel's progeny still in the running for the world's richest 2-year-old race, along with 41 by I Am Invincible, who has the current third favourite in Catch Me.

Exhilarates is one of 284 entries in the G1 Golden Slipper

Future Venue Plan proposes NZ venue closures

As part of its Future Venue Plan, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has proposed reducing the number of racing venues to 27 within a decade, with 10 set to lose their licences from next season.

In a process running separate to the government reviews as a result of the Messara Report. NZTR's Future Venue Plans outlines what NZTR sees as the priorities for rationalisation of venues and is seeking feedback from the industry in the next month.

“While NZTR agrees with the Messara report that a reduction of venues is required, having already undertaken substantial work in this area over some years we have a view of how this could look,” NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry said.

“Despite the best intentions of committed and passionate volunteers, many of New Zealand’s racing venues are in urgent need of major development."

“Spending is required to bring infrastructure up to standard and to meet Health & Safety obligations. An upgrading of venues will also improve the punter experience by providing better and more consistent track surfaces.”

The 10 venues that it proposes are not allocated licences in the 2019/20 racing season include Dargaville, Thames and Wyndham who are currently racing elsewhere, as well as Wairoa, Stratford, Blenheim, Reefton, Hokitika, Waimate and Winton.

NZTR is proposing that affected clubs will find alternative venues to race.

“A key commitment of the proposed NZTR Venue Plan is that all clubs in New Zealand will have an approved and appropriate venue at which to race. We see a future for every club,” Saundry said.

NZTR will conduct meetings with stakeholders over the coming weeks with March 19 the deadline for feedback.

“Everything in the Venue Plan is up for debate and we want feedback to ensure the best possible result for the future of our industry,” Saundry said.

No Nay Never breaks through in Japan

Coolmore shuttler No Nay Never (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}) has broken through with his first winner in Japan with Unicorn Lion (Ire) successful in a 1800m race at Kyoto.

Unicorn Lion was the most expensive of No Nay Never's first Northern hemisphere crop sold as a yearling, with the colt sold for 850,000gns at the 2017 Tattersalls October Book 1 sale.

Now trained by Yoshio Yahagi for Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd, Unicorn Lion lived up to his short price, prevailing by half a length on debut from Hokko Mevius (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}).

No Nay Never's oldest progeny bred in Australia are yearlings, with seven sold at the Gold Coast Magic Millions for an average of $148,571 and his two lots at Karaka, Lot 606 and 682, to go under the hammer on Wednesday.

There are six catalogued at the Inglis Classic Sale, three at the Premier Sale and three at the Easter Sale.