Daily News Wrap

6 min read

McEvoy faith in D'bai

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy feels D'bai (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) can make a considerable impression in Saturday's G1 Schweppes All Aged S. at Randwick.

McEvoy has been impressed with what he has seen from the Charlie Appleby-trained import since his arrival in Australia and feels his form can measure up well.

"He's a fresh horse on the scene, coming off a nice win in a Group 2 race in Dubai where he travelled really well behind a good speed and quickened up past them over the concluding stages," McEvoy told Racing NSW.

"I think he is going to act really well over 1400 metres around Randwick."

"It is a good line-up of locals, but I think he is bringing nice form lines from good quality events over there."

A winner of the G2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan at his most recent start in January, D'bai was sixth behind Merchant Navy (Fastnet Rock) in the G1 Diamond Jubilee (1200m) at Royal Ascot and sixth in the G1 Maurice De Gheest (1300m) at Deauville in August.

"I think he has the ability to travel well at a 1400-metre tempo," he said.

"There's no reason why he can't be very hard to beat. He has the right tools to be able to compete against our horses."

"I'd be surprised if he's not fighting out the finish."

NZ Government enacts Messara reforms

New Zealand Racing Minister Winston Peters will begin its implementation of the Messara Report by introducing two new pieces of legislation this year.

The 'Messara Review of the Racing Industry’, released last year, identified several areas of concern for the future of the NZ racing industry and offered recommendations.

Peters said the first piece of legislation will see the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) be reconstituted as the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) to drive the transition of the industry.

“The New Zealand racing industry is in a state of serious decline,” Peters said.

“The Coalition Government supports the overall intent of the Messara Report and is committed to reforms. We know we have the grass, the race animals, and the people to help the industry achieve its potential."

“It is essential to have this transitional governance in place. RITA will have a legislative mandate that encompasses change management as well as the current business-as-usual functions and powers of the NZRB."

Included in that bill will be the ability to make offshore betting operators contribute to domestic racing and sports codes from the bets they take from New Zealanders, offering some financial relief to the industry.

“As a result of RITA’s work the government anticipates a second racing amendment Bill to proceed later in 2019. It will implement the remaining reforms including post-transition governance,” Peters said.

Arc off Almond Eye's radar

Superstar Japanese filly Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) won't contest this year's G1 Prix de l'Arc De Triomphe.

Almond Eye

Owners Silk Racing Co. Ltd announced that Almond Eye, a winner of seven of her eight starts including five at Group 1 level will not travel to Europe for the race in October, ending the possibility of a clash with two-time defending champion Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}).

She will instead more likely be set towards the defence of the G1 Japan Cup, with her 2019 plans to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

She was last seen when a dominant winner of the G1 Dubai Turf on World Cup night in Dubai.

Ben Smith facing charges

Trainer Ben Smith has been issued with 10 additional charges after stewards concluded their inquiries into the elevated cobalt levels returned by his horses.

Newcastle-based Smith had his licence suspended in September last year after stewards laid two serious charges against him following a stable raid.

Subsequently four of his horses returned positives to cobalt and 'a number of unlabelled and/or unregistered substances' were also confiscated.

Hearings over the past two months have led to charges being laid which will be heard on May 7.

Avdulla headed back to Japan

Brenton Avdulla is heading back to Japan to take up a contract with champion Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee.

Avdulla leaves next Monday for his third stint in 12 months and has not confirmed if and when he'll return.

“I’ve enjoyed riding there in the past and it’s a great experience,” he told Racenet. "The experience I get from riding in Japan can’t be measured."

"You just have to look at how well Kluger went. He hasn’t been competitive in their big races in recent seasons and if they actually decided to bring their real deal horses to Australia, we wouldn’t get near them."

“If I’m lucky enough I might be able to find a horse or horses for the spring and next autumn.”

Back to stakes company for Folk Dress

Coolmore's NZ-based filly Folk Dress (Pierro) is headed back to stakes company after notching back-to-back wins at Matamata.

Folk Dress, trained by Jamie Richards, had 1.5l up her sleeve as she made it two wins from four starts and will now contest the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO S. (1100m) at Te Rapa on May 4.

“Good draws win races and Craig (Grylls) got the split at the top of the straight and she went home nicely,” Richards said. “We have been trying to concentrate on getting her back and finishing off and she is doing that well.”

Folk Dress

It was also the first time Folk Dress had raced in blinkers.

Stablemate Louis Luck (Dissident), raced by Cambridge Stud's Brendan and Jo Lindsay, ran fifth in the race and is also headed to the same Te Rapa race.

“He just got on one rein and is still learning, but he is a progressive horse and if he can draw a gate at Te Rapa, he is a big chance,” Richards said.

Pike has high Ellerslie aims

Tony Pike will be aiming at a Group 2 double at Saturday's meeting at Ellerslie with runners in the G2 Manco Easter Hcp and G2 Valachi Downs Championship S.

Pike saddles up Endless Drama (Ire) (Lope De Vega {IRE}) and Rangipo (Stryker) in the Easter Hcp, while he holds high hopes for the filly Intrigue (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}) in the Championship S.

“She’s flying,” Pike said. “She just gets better with each run. She was a bit green to start off with but she’s stepping up all the time and was pretty dominant over 2100m last start."

“She’s a really good progressive staying filly and her work has been outstanding. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her go out and win again on Saturday.”

Pike harbours ambitions of taking Intrigue for a tilt at the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks.

“It’s really prize-money based,” Pike said. “As long as she runs well, she’ll go over. "

“In an ideal world, she wins then we’ve got no worries about prize-money. If she runs second, then we’re probably only a chance of getting into the races we want to, so really, we need to run one or two to be confident of a start in the races we want to in Queensland.”