The Daily Wrap

5 min read

EI spreads to Newmarket

The Equine Influenza outbreak in Great Britain has spread to Simon Crisford’s yard in Newmarket.

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed late on Sunday that four positive tests for EI were returned from vaccinated horses in Crisford's yard.

Racing across Britain has been in shutdown since last week after six horses from the Donald McCain yard were found to have contracted the highly contagious virus.

“The horse racing community in Newmarket is tonight being informed that four positive tests for equine influenza have been returned this evening in vaccinated thoroughbreds at the yard of a licensed flat trainer in Newmarket," the BHA statement read.

Trainer Simon Crisford

“The affected yard is that of Simon Crisford, who has been named in order to ensure that the Newmarket community is aware of the yard at which an infection has been identified.

“This yard is one of the 174 which has been required to undergo testing due to the fact that runners from the stable competed at the fixture at Newcastle on 5 February, which had been identified as a potential risk fixture. At the moment the affected horses are all contained within this yard."

Trainers at Newmarket, which is the nerve centre of British racing, have been asked to show increased vigilance to biosecurity and await further updates.

In light of the development, the BHA will confirm whether racing can resume on Wednesday as initially intended, or whether a further delay is required.

Mertens back on filly

Beau Mertens will be reunited with Brooklyn Hustle (Starspangledbanner) in the G1 Blue Diamond S. on Saturday week.

He was aboard the Jason Warren-trained filly when she produced a dazzling performance to win on debut at Moonee Valley.

Raced by Rosemont Stud, Brooklyn Hustle resumed under Ben Melham in the G2 Blue Diamond Prelude at Caulfield and got home well to finish fifth.

“We were happy enough with the run,” Warren said. “We’re training her for her second-up run. She worked to the line well.”

Melham rides unbeaten I Am Immortal (I Am Invincible) in the race.

Sprinter set for Sydney Group 1

A Sydney campaign has been confirmed for the gifted Cambridge sprinter Ardrossan (Redoute’s Choice).

The 4-year-old will be out to boost his stallion profile in G1 Canterbury S. at Randwick on March 9 rather than opt for the lesser mission of the G3 Waikato Stud Plate at Ellerslie a week earlier.

“He deserves a crack at the Group One in Sydney,’’ trainer Stephen Marsh said.


‘’The owners are keen to have a go and he went a top race on Saturday. He has pulled up well and the 1300 metres should suit him.

‘’At this stage we’re just concentrating on the Canterbury Stakes and we’ll see after that whether he has another run in Sydney.”

Thornton to China

Craig Thornton has accepted a 12-month contract to train in China.

He will be the principal trainer of a stable of 40 horses for Hongwei Chen in China, initially spending two months in Wuhan province before travelling to Yulong Racecourse in Shanxi province.

Chen is a coal mining magnate from Inner Mongolia who has thoroughbred interests globally, including in New Zealand where his horses carry the Not Usual prefix and race under the Horse Feng Bloodstock banner.

Alex Teng and Craig Thornton

A highly regarded international jumps jockey in his past, Thornton has trained the winners of more than 100 races in New Zealand in a career spanning 17 years.

Thornton has been to China once before to attend the opening of Khorchin Racecourse in Inner Mongolia, he’s also sought advice from others who know the area well.

“I’ve spoken to Graham Forbes who trained up there and Luke Danis, Darren Danis’s father who’s training up there now and they’ve given me pretty good insight in to what to expect,” he said.

“It’s going to be a learning curve for me, but I think stockmanship is universal, horses are all I know and it’s all I’m qualified to do, so hopefully I can adapt.”

Lightning challenge

Osborne Bulls (Street Cry {Ire}) will resume in Saturday’s G1 Lightning S. at Flemington.

The Goldolphin gelding was last seen winning the G2 The TAB S. at Flemington in November after running third in The Everest at Randwick.

The James Cummings-trained sprinter has done all his preparatory work at Osborne Park in Sydney and will be transported to Melbourne during the week.

"I'm very happy with his preparation," Cummings said. "He's trialled up in Sydney at Randwick and should be ready to run over five furlongs for the first time in his life.

Osborne Bulls

"He's pretty fresh and well and it will be an interesting test for the horse."

Cummings said Saturday's race would have added intrigue with 2-year-old filly Jedastar (I Am Invincible) in the entries.

Under the weight-for-age conditions, Jedastar will carry 44kg with Osborne Bulls on 58.5kg.

"That will be fascinating and I applaud them for trying something different," Cummings said.