Friday, August 27, 2010

Harresh Mehta's Fourpenny Lane wins at Tipperary: Big stakes action at week's end

A five year-old mare owned by Harresh N Mehta won a listed race at Tipperary racecourse on Thursday. Fourpenny Lane was a 5/1 chance in the 1500-metre Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fairy Bridge Stakes. Rory Cleary, who rode in India last winter, was aboard the Joanna Morgan-trained mare. Fourpenny Lane won by over a length in a time of 1 31.31 seconds. Eleven ran.

That was the first win for Fourpenny Lane in eight 2010 outings. She has a 27-6-4-6 record for earnings of $157,514 pounds and is in foal to Verglas. Now, Fourlane Penny will head to India to deliver the baby and stand as a broodmare. She is by Efisio out of Makara who’s by Lion Cavern. Fourpenny Lane’s last race was in the Vincent O’Brien Stakes at Killarney on August 17. She was third and beaten about two lengths by Steinbeck and Ask Jack in the 1700-metre contest.

The first three races in the Thursday card at Tipperary were won by jockey G F Carroll. The first two were trained by Marc Halford. The third was trained by Joanna Morgan and Fourpenny Lane’s victory gave her a double for the day. Jockey Carroll won the opener with Della ‘Alba, a 3/1 chance, the second with the 8/1 Casamento and the third with Beauthea, a 4/1 proposition.

Tipperary is about 115 miles from Dublin. The course is a (very) short walk from a train station, Limerick Junction. There are trains from Heuston Station (in Dublin) to Limerick Junction. The journey takes about two hours. You can take a bus from Bussaras, the main bus station in the Dublin City Center.

I will make an attempt to talk to Mr Mehta. I will have more on Fourpenny Lane and Mr Mehta.

Here is a story that deserves mention. Paul Norton is an apprentice rider in the UK who claims a seven-pound allowance. On Wednesday at Ayr, a course in Scotland, jockey Norton was aboard Eternal Instinct, a well bet 9/2 chance, in a 1200-metre race. Jim Goldie, Eternal Instinct’s trainer, had another runner in the race, Music Festival whose starting price was 7/1. Music Festival won.

Contrary to the trainer’s instructions, Norton had his mount held up too far back and ran on strongly in the final 200 metres and finished fourth. He was two lengths off the winner. The stewards questioned trainer Goldie and absolved him of any guilt. However, they took a dim view of Norton’s indifference and banned him for 12 days.

Jim Goldie said, “Paul admiited he overdid what I wanted him to do. It is a learning thing for him.”

The normal punishment is a 10-day suspension. It was explained that the stewards felt that Norton’s ride was so egregious and whatever effort did not come until too late that they settled on the 12-day deal.

Another thing happened in England on Monday. Odds from the courses are transmitted to off track shops. Odds change and a fan has the option of asking for a price at a given moment or say nothing and settle for the starting price. It is a tricky thing. Once, I took 7/2 on a runner in Ballinrobe in Ireland. The horse won and returned 6/1. On the other hand, odds drop precipitously when there is a strong money flow on a runner. When in England or Ireland, I do not do any guessing and go with the starting price.

At Kempton, Wafeira, a filly trained by Sir Henry Cecil, was reported to have been 11/1 at the start of the betting. The Kempton signal was relayed by Turf TV, a signal provider, to the betting shops. From 11/1, the odds dropped to 8/1, on to 7/1, then 6/1, tightened to 9/2 and the starting price was 4/1. Bets were struck at these odds. Moments after the race, it was found that the odds transmitted at different times were incorrect. Wafeira opened at 11/2, went to 6/1, dropped to 9/2 and started at 4/1. The mistake cost the bookmakers a pretty penny. An investigation is under way.

Shane Foley rides in Ireland. At Bellewstown on Wednesday, jockey Foley was aboard French Express and the horses were circling behind the starting gate. Foley’s mount reared and unseated him. Foley suffered a broken collarbone. It is a very vulnerable area. Does the word ‘clavicle’ come to mind?

In Australia, jocke Danny Brereton is in intensive care after spinal surgery. Jockey Brereton, 45, had a fall at Moonee Valley last Saturday. He has had some high profile winners in Australia.

The Group I Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday headlines a number of Group races. Memory, a Richard Hannon trainee, takes on a quartet from Aidan O’Brien’s yard. Richard Hughes rides Memory. Then there is the Group III Go and Go Round Tower Stakes. The third big race is the Group III Dance Design Stakes. Finally, the Group III Goffs Flying Five Stakes will be run.

The Pacific Classic is the big race at Del Mar at week’s end. It is a million-dollar race. The Usual Q T is one of the fancied runners. Richard’s Kid is a factor. Temple City is in with a chance. Awesome Gem makes his fourth consecutive appearance in Del Mar’s showcase event.

It is a glittering weekend at Saratoga. The Travers Stakes sits at the top. The Personal Ensign brings in Rachel Alexandra and Life At Ten. The Grade I Ballerina is another attraction.Then there is the Grade I King’s Bishop.

Goodwood in England has the Group II Celebration Mile on Saturday and there are four runners. Also on tap is the 1400-metre Group III Prestige Stakes.

Jambalaya has been retired. Now six, Jambalaya won the 2007 Arlington Million beating The Tin Man who was attempting back to back wins. A Langfuhr progeny, the Catherine Day Phillips-schooled Jambalaya had a deep bone bruise soon after the 2007 Miilion. There were also other problems. Jambalaya had a 9-1-7 record from 23 starts. He earned $1,748,359. Some of the big races Jambalaya won are the Grade I Gulfstream Park Handicap, the Grade II Pan American at Gulfstream and the Grade III Saranacat at Saratoga.

Trainer Phillips had this to say. “He’s retiring. He is sound and healthy but not standing up to the rigors of training. He deserves this.”

Here is another retirement. Pure Clan is saying goodbye to racing. She is now five. In 2009, she ran second to Midday in the Breeders’ Cup filly-mare turf. Pure Clan is by Pure Prize out of Gather The Clan by General Assembly. At two, Pure Clan won the Pocahontas and the Golden Rod. She was third in the 2008 Kentucky Oaks. She won the Grade II American Oaks at Hollywood Park and the Flower Bowl in 2009. She was third in the Beverly D last year. Pure Clan won eight races from 16 starts for earnings of $1,987,498. In 16 races, she was 15 times in the money.

There is news about Santa Anita. Frank Stronach has announced that the pro ride will be replaced by conventional dirt by December. The project will cost five to six million dollars.

Jockey Robert Havlin (in England) has a broken right ankle. He had a fall at Windsor in July. He is recovering. Two screws were inserted in the ankle. Havlin has 21 winners thus year. A mid-September return is planned.

Ryan Moore is back exercising horses. He has not said when he will be back race-riding. Kieren Fallon is riding Michael Stoute’s horses. Moore had a mishap on August 9 at Windsor. He has said that he is fine but a date for his return has not been mentioned.

Chicago, Friday, August 27, 2010

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