Jenny - Clean


THE British Racing Post reports that ‘friends and family of Dick Francis on Sunday (February 14) celebrated the life of an extraordinary man’ as the legendary jockey and best-selling novelist died at the age of 89.

Crowned champion jockey in 1954, Francis was one of the most successful post-war jump jockeys, with a tally of over 350 triumphs to his name and was famously aboard the Queen Mother's Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National when he collapsed yards from the line and well clear of the field.

Sir Peter O'Sullevan was commentating at Aintree that day and recalled the incident, what little he saw from the 12th and 28th fence.

"I saw his cap go down and the shouting told me that something dramatic had happened," he said. "He took it very hard, much harder than the owner. She was very philosophical about the whole thing and said simply that's racing.

"Dick blamed himself for an incident with a horse he rode for me too. Itwas August 1951 and he fell at the fifth. The horse hit the fence three inches from the bottom and bulldozed his way through it, there was no way the partnership could have remained intact. I think it was purely because of his impeccable manners that Dick said it was his fault.

"We've been friends ever since and, put simply, he was a kind, gentle person with a considerable gift for riding and writing."

Upon retiring from the saddle in 1957, Francis took up his new vocation as a novelist beginning with his autobiography - entitled The Sport of Queens - and going on to become the author of 42 novels and a volume of short stories.

He was acclaimed as one of the greatest thriller writers in the world. His most recent novel, Even Money, written with his younger son, Felix, was published in September 2009.

Based in the Cayman Islands to help his beloved wife Mary's with her breathing problems, Francis reportedly died from old age at his home.

Mary, to whom he was married for 53 years, died in 2000 and Francis is survived by five grandsons, one great grandson and his two sons, Felix and Merrick, who described themselves as "devastated".

"My brother, Merrick, and I are, of course devastated by the loss of our father, but we rejoice in having been the sons of such an extraordinary man," said Felix. "We share in the joy that he brought to so many over such a long life. It is an honour for me to be able to continue his remarkable legacy through the new novels."

Before becoming a jockey, Francis had a distinguished military career joining the RAF in 1940, wherehe was initially stationed in the Egyptian desert before being commissioned as a pilot in 1943, flying Spitfires, Wellingtons and then Lancasters.

There will be a small funeral at his home in Grand Cayman, followed by a memorial service in London.



THE Dubai Racing Club has received a record number of 288 entries for the G1 World Cup on March 27 at the newly unveiled Meydan Racecourse.

At the closure of the free entry stage, a total of 1,951 entries have been received from 23 countries for the entire eight-race program, highlighted by the 15th running of the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

The Dubai World Cup, run for the first time on an all weather surface, Tapeta, attracted the highest number of nominations in its history. Dual Eclipse Award winner, Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat) and two-time Japanese Horse of the Year, Vodka (Tanino Gimlet) are prominent among the entries received.

Vodka leads a powerful contingent from Japan which also includes the dual Classic winner and champion three-year-old filly Buena Vista (Special Week), G1 Japan Cup Dirt winner, Espoir City (Gold Allure) and Success Brocken (Symboli Kris S).

Gloria De Campeao returns for a third Dubai campaign hoping to go one better than his second placing to Well Armed last year, while Godolphin's Regal Ransom is among 34 entries from the stable and aiming to become the first horse to win the Dubai World Cup 12 months after a G2 U.A.E. Derby success.

G1 Hong Kong Cup quinella pair, Vision D’Etat and Collection are also among the early entries.

The Dubai World Cup's 288 entries come from 82 trainers and 15 countries. Saeed bin Suroor (34 entries) has the largest number of nominations and is one of seven trainers having tasted success in the big race previously, the others being Kiaran McLaughlin (four entries), Bill Mott (two), Steve Asmussen (one), Bob Baffert (seven), Eoin Harty (one), Sir Michael Stoute (two).

Among this year's entries for the $5 million G1 Dubai Duty Free are the top three from 2009 - Gladiatorus, Presvus and Alexandros. The three, along with the highly rated Courageous Cat, are among a massive 400 entries from 19 countries.

The Dubai Duty Free and the $5 million G1 Dubai Sheema Classic traditionally attract a strong level of international entries and this year proves no different. Like the Dubai Duty Free, those prominent in the 2009 Dubai Sheema Classic are again among the entries for this year's renewal which has attracted 242 nominations from 17 countries. The first seven home in 2009 are all aimed at the race in 2010, as are Prescious Passion from the United States and Europe's outstanding filly Dar Re Mi.

The G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen has long been the domain of horses from the United States since 2000. G1 Breeders Cup Sprint winner, Dancing In Silks, spearheads the American entries.

In all, the Golden Shaheen has attracted 205 entries from 16 countries. Japan’s Laurel Guerreiro will be attempting to halt American dominance of the race. Richard Mandella, trainer of the 2004 Dubai World Cup winner Pleasantly Perfect, also has his eye on this race, with his charge Crown of Thorns. For the first time this year, the Dubai Golden Shaheen will be run around a bend.

The addition to the program of the G3 Al Quoz Sprint on the turf is proving to be extremely popular with the race attracting 202 entries from 16 countries. All Silent, Turffontein and Gold Trail are among a powerful group of 15 from Australia while Singapore's star Rocket Man and Hong Kong champion, Sacred Kingdom are also entered. Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner, California Flag, the globe-trotting, Cannonball, G1 Prix de l'Abbaye winner, Total Gallery and the outstanding South African, Our Giant, are also included.

Baffert and owner Mike Pegram have tasted Dubai World Cup success with Captain Steve and their Looking At Lucky, winner of the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old male of 2009, heads the 173 entries for the $2 million U.A.E. Derby.

Godolphin's bin Suroor and South Africa's Mike de Kock remain the only trainers to have prepared winners of the U.A.E. Derby and unsurprisingly, both are well represented again. G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, Vale of York, heads Godolphin's 18 strong entry, while South Africa's champion two-year-old of last season, Musir, is one of six entries from de Kock.

G1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner, Furtherest Land, heads a 61-strong American entry for the G2 $1 million Godolphin Mile, for which 370 entries were received from 16 countries.

Gayego, second in the race last year, and stablemate, Midshipman, are prominent among powerful entries from the UAE.

For a full list of nominations, please visit



AT LEAST 2,000 jobs were lost in the Irish racing and breeding industries last year, according to Horse Racing Ireland’s chairman, Denis Brosnan.

Brosnan was one of a highly distinguished panel of speakers from across Europe who formed a panel for the symposium titled ‘The Future Of European Racing', part of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Expo 2010 at Goffs.

A common theme was the problems facing the sport in Ireland, Britain and Germany. The marked reduction in funding for the industry in Ireland, which in turn has led to a sharp contraction in support for areas such as capital grants for racecourses, a fall in registered owners from 1,450 in 2007 to 890 last year, and the dramatic increase in offshore betting over the last decade were among the issues dealt with by Brosnan.

He also said that the drop in betting levy from five per cent to one per cent was glossed over by a booming economy that created government surpluses, some of which made its way into racing.

"Higher than 2,000 jobs in the industry were lost during 2009," he said. "We have one massive problem in common with Britain in that most betting is done through internet and offshore betting.

"In 2002 1.2 billion Euros was bet in Ireland and the betting levy was 60 million Euros, and fully funded the racing industry.

"The government fund has now been cut to 23 million Euros and the betting levy reduced from five per cent to one per cent. Even with those cuts we have managed to provide €448m to prize-money, though."

To place into context Brosnan's statement that 2,000 jobs had been lost in the past 12 months, the Dukes Report, published in November, stated that there were 22,084 full-time employees in the Irish thoroughbred industry.

That report, on the economic impact of the thoroughbred industry in Ireland, had been commissioned by the ITBA. Dukes is an economist and former government minister.

Also on the panel with Brosnan was Paul Dixon, president of the Racehorse Owners’ Association, who, when quizzed about the Racing For Change project, said: "We need to get people interested in the sport and its participants - the horses and characters involved. If we can do that, betting interest will follow."

The challenging times facing racing in Germany were outlined by Gerhard Schoningh, who owns Hoppegarten racecourse.

He reported the number of meetings in Germany to have fallen by 40-50 per cent over the past decade, and that betting turnover had fallen by even more.



Racing has retained its position as the second biggest sport in Britain after football, including revenue generation and attendance, in a major new Economic Impact Study which has just been released.

British Horseracing generated expenditure of £3.4bn in 2008, up from £2.86bn in 2005. Once capital expenditure is added this figure rises to more than £3.7bn.

The study, which is the second of its type produced for British Horseracing by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, reiterates the value of horseracing to the British economy. The British Horseracing business contributed at least £325m in tax in 2008, taking the five year tax total to over £1.5bn. British Racing has 18,600 full time equivalent jobs within its core industry, a vast number of them within the rural economy.

According to the report, there are an estimated 52,000 full time equivalent jobs in the onshore betting industry which, given the considerable proportion of gross win provided by Racing (to the betting industry) indicates that a significant proportion of these jobs are supported by the sport.

Taking into account secondary expenditure generated by the Racing industry in the economy, over 100,000 full time equivalent jobs were supported, directly or indirectly, by British Horseracing.

Other key findings of the wide-ranging study, which has sections on the sport’s varied participants and customers, as well as comparisons with the leisure market and international competitors, include:

  • Core British Racing industry expenditure of over £1bn, with racecourses generating £361m
  • Owners’ gross expenditure totalled £367m, whilst receiving income of £92m through prizemoney to give a net contribution of £275m
  • The expenditure of the breeding industry was estimated at £207m
  • Capital expenditure over the last five years within the industry of £706m, of which 80% was accounted for by racecourses, and a further estimated £110m by trainers and breeders
  • Bookmakers’ gross win on British Racing in 2008 totalling £1.05bn

In terms of Racing’s standing within the competitive sports market in Britain:

  • Racing once again had four of the top eight attended sporting events in 2008
  • Total attendances of 5.7m last year placed Racing second only to football, with Rugby Union overtaking Greyhound racing to third place, followed by Cricket and Rugby League

The Study also analyzed betting turnover and returns to racing of the major racing nations.

Britain was second only to Japan in the total amount bet on racing, with £12.1bn wagered in Britain compared to just under £14bn wagered in Japan. However, the return to racing in Japan was £741m (5.3% of the amount wagered) against just £118m in Britain (1%). Both the USA and France see 8% of money wagered returned to racing (£589m and £531m respectively).

Nic Coward, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said: “Deloitte’s study reiterates that British Horseracing, as the second biggest sporting activity in Britain, is a significant contributor to the leisure, agricultural and rural economies in Britain.

“It also highlights the disparity regarding the returns to the sport from betting compared to other major racing nations. If further demonstration of our broken system was needed, we have the second highest betting turnover of the major racing nations yet the lowest return by far from the betting industry to our sport.

“British Racing’s economic impact was over £3.7bn last year and over five years has generated over £1.5bn in tax revenue for Government. Our sport is of enormous value to Britain, and whilst we face challenges, there are opportunities that racing must take which can ensure our standing and importance within Britain can be maintained.”

Alan Switzer, Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Like all sports, Racing faces a significant challenge as a result of the economic downturn. While sport is certainly not immune from its effects we have seen an encouraging resilience across many sports.

“One impact of this has been a ‘flight to quality’ with consumers increasingly focusing on the top events. Racing has the advantage that it has a number of such events, with attendances at the top festivals in 2009 generally holding up well. A key challenge for Racing will be to find ways of increasing the profile of the next tier of fixtures.

“Many of the metrics in this report are likely to experience declines in 2009, but we are confident the sport has the ability to bounce back once economic conditions improve.”



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