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Schedule – November 2015

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Dan Kelly’s FFP – Week 2

Irish need to weather the storm when it comes to the Derby


The talk following Australia’s emphatic win in the Irish Derby was not what this potentially great colt had just accomplished, nor what he could do in the future, but more about the lack of numbers, perceived quality of those he had beaten and the downward trend of the race as a whole.


Some have looked towards the French Derby, and the reduction in distance, as a possible reason behind fall in numbers. A congested programme for top flight middle-distance three-year-olds is another reason put forward. Within the months of June and July a 10-12f 3yo colt has the following options available to him; Prix du Jockey Club, Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, Coral Eclipse, Deutsches Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and the King George. The Irish Derby’s prize fund of €1.25m compares favourably with the likes of the English and French equivalent, while standing head and shoulders above the likes of the Eclipse and Grand Prix de Paris.


So what else can Horse Racing Ireland do to attract the better colts? Well not much really. At a time when the British and Irish racing authorities are juggling with their own fixture lists to create “Champions Weekend” with the blessings of European Pattern Committee it seems the Irish will be going back asking to juggle a few things around to help them out again. Good luck with that.


Tweaks are the way forward. Paul Hensey, Curragh racecourse manager, is rightly looking at the supplementary fee situation; €100,000 currently with reductions thrown in for performances, yet not one was supplemented. Quite a surprise when you consider the numbers at 5 day stage, but less so when you compare cost with other races. Supplementary cost is €72,000 for Prix du Jockey Club, £75,000 for Epsom Derby, €65,000 Deutsches Derby, €43,200 Grand Prix de Paris and £30,000 for the Coral Eclipse.


Another option is a suggestion put forward by Kevin Blake in his blog and offer bonuses to tempt those who have won or placed in the Prix du Jockey Club, Epsom Derby or Royal Ascot. Further still cover entrance fees for tilts at Breeders Cup later in the season, or add the Irish Derby to The Breeders’ Cup Challenge making it a Win & You’re In race.


Weather scuppered the chances of Sea The Stars and New Approach taking their chance in recent years with soft ground ruining Camelot, and if the weather gods were just that little bit kinder we could have easily been talking about the rich vein of form the Irish Derby is in. Weather this storm and a dazzling Irish Derby may soon be on the horizon.


BHA’s Zero Tolerance Policy 2.0


From 2015 British Horseracing Authority will be able to dope test thoroughbreds in and out of training. Good news and much needed, but while many will salivate over the headline elements of the policy, hopefully the small print will add some flesh to the bones.


  • Can horses miss a test, and like athletes, will it be 3 strikes and your out?
  • Will trainers have to complete a whereabouts form for all horses which is forwarded to BHA so can spot check?
  • Logistics of a dope test, i.e. if no whereabouts form completed does horse have to be made available within x amount of time.


However, British Horseracing Authority can now at least make claims to having an anti-doping policy which exceeds international minimum standards, and is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. It is a shame however, that a week after announcing these new anti-doping policies, and towards race day medication, Toast Of New York will be running on Lasix this weekend.


“When in Rome” said Jamie Osborne.


Follow the author Dan Kelly here on Twitter

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