Daily News Wrap

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Maher and Eustace take control of Forest Lodge

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace will extend their training operation to take over the Forest Lodge stables from disqualified trainer Darren Weir.

Maher and Eustace only recently announced that they would set up a permanent base at Warwick Farm in Sydney and have now arranged to purchase the Ballarat stables and take over with immediate effect.

"This is a huge opportunity for Ciaron Maher Racing to take over a premier training facility in Victoria," said Maher.

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace

"Our business is well structured to facilitate this addition, both practically and administratively, and our key priority is to ensure a swift takeover with minimal disruption to the staff and horses there."

"We already provide a vast array of training operations and locations for our horses, including traditional track training at Caulfield, beach training at Balnarring and dressage and arena work at our Pakenham pre-training farm."

Maher and Eustace had already secured 15 of Weir's former horses for their stable, including seven Group 1 winners.

Racing Victoria has put a stipulation that it must approve the transfer of further horses from Weir to Maher and Eustace on an individual basis.

Scenes around the sales

Potential buyers have been busy inspecting yearlings at the Riverside complex this week ahead of the Inglis Classic Sale which kicks off selling on Saturday night.

EI hits British racing

British racing has been brought to a halt with the BHA confirming that there had been three confirmed cases of Equine Influenza.

Four meetings were abandoned on Thursday at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford after confirmation that the highly infectious disease had been detected in a single yard.

"This is following the BHA being informed this evening by the Animal Health Trust of three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses in an active racing yard," the statement said.

"Horses from the infected yard have raced today at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland."

"The fact that the cases have been identified in vaccinated horses presents a cause for significant concern over welfare and the potential spread of the disease and the action to cancel racing has been viewed as necessary in order to restrict, as far as possible, the risk of further spread of the disease."

"The BHA has worked quickly to identify which yards could have potentially been exposed today and identify the further actions required."

"The BHA is presently communicating with yards potentially exposed to ensure appropriate quarantine and bio-security measures are put in place and horse movements restricted to avoid possible further spread of the disease."

"The full extent of potential exposure is unknown and we are working quickly to understand as much as we can to assist our decision making."

Equine Influenza had a devastating effect on the Australian industry in the spring of 2007, halting racing and causing havoc with the breeding industry be preventing the interstate movement of horses.

Martin ready for Group 1 debut

Jack Martin will take his first Group 1 ride in this weekend's Group 1 CF Orr S. at Caulfield.

The 23-year-old has had a rollercoaster career to date, missing large chunks of time through injury but gets his chance at the top level aboard Moss 'N' Dale (NZ) (Castledale {Ire}).

Jack Martin aboard Moss 'N' Dale

"I'm very excited, I've got good nervous energy and I can't wait for the day to come," Martin told Racing.com.

Jockey and horse have combined for seven victories, including a last start win in the G3 Craven Plate at Randwick.

"We've just bonded from day one and he's taken me on a great journey," Martin said.

"I won my first black-type race on him, my first Group winner and he's taken me all over the country.

"I'm so excited and feel very privileged and thankful to the owners and the Gelagotis team for keeping me on him (in the C.F. Orr Stakes) because we're on the big stage now and they could have easily put somebody, the likes of Damien Oliver or Ben Melham, aboard, but they've stuck true by me."

Browne contemplating retirement

Brisbane jockey Damian Browne is contemplating retirement after doctors told him he could no longer take anti-inflammatory drugs for a chronic knee injury.

Browne was hospitalised with a perforated bowel last month, the complications of a stomach ulcer which doctors believed was caused by prolonged use of anti-inflammatories for his injuries.

Damian Browne

The 16-time Group 1 winner is now confined to crutches and is unlikely to be able to ride again.

“To be honest I don’t want it to end like this, and I am still clinging onto hope I will be able to sort something out so I can ride again,” Browne told Racenet.com.au.

“But I am certainly resigned to the fact that it (his riding career) may be over."

“If I retire, that will be that. There will be no comeback.”

Portelli expects improved Time To Reign

Trainer Gary Portelli expects his star 2-year-old Time To Reign (Time For War) to show his G1 Golden Slipper S. credentials in Saturday's Listed Lonhro Plate at Warwick Farm.

The colt, a half brother to 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain), was unbeaten in his two starts in the spring and Portelli expects him to show he has improved even more coming into his second campaign.

"We're very happy with him and I think we will get a lot of questions answered even for ourselves," Portelli told Racing NSW.

"His first two wins were okay, he got it done, there was nothing really brilliant about them. He was very tradesman like."

"I don't know where we are at. Everyone has seen what I've seen, he trialled enormous."

"We're looking forward to seeing what we've got to play with for the rest of the carnival."

Ardrossan ready for G1 challenge

Ardrossan (Redoute's Choice) is ready to handle the step up in class and continue his unbeaten New Zealand run in Saturday's G1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.

Two runs back off a failed trip to Australia where it was discovered he had a heart irregularity, Ardrossan looks back to his old self and trainer Stephen Marsh feels he is ready to elevate to Group 1 level for the first time in his career.

"He's perfect. He's got no issues at all. He's happy as and his work has been brilliant. He's as sound as you could get any horse and an absolute pleasure to do anything with," he said. "He's a beautiful entire. A stable full of him and you couldn't go wrong."

"It's definitely a step up at weight-for-age against those more seasoned campaigners but we expect him to foot it with them. I wouldn't swap him for any other horse in the race."

Ardrossan is coming off an impressive win in the G3 Concorde Hcp at Ellerslie, but comes up against proven Group 1 performers Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) and Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge).