ITBA Awards on Saturday

THE Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s National Breeding and Racing Awards will be presented next Saturday (January 28th) in The Heritage, Killenard, Co Laois. These awards recognise the success of Irish-bred horses, both flat and National Hunt, during 2022. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge those who have made a lifelong contribution to Irish thoroughbred breeding industry. The awards ceremony will be streamed live from 10pm next Saturday via the ITBA website.

Web: #itbawinners

Juddmonte backing Oaks

JUDDMONTE will again sponsor the Irish Oaks at the Curragh this year. The 12-furlong classic will be the feature event of the two-day Juddmonte Irish Oaks Weekend on July 22nd-23rd. The Juddmonte-owned Bluestocking, trained by Ralph Beckett, an impressive winner on her only career start last year, and Tide Pool trained by Dermot Weld, are among the 87 first entries for the €500,000 contest this year. Other notable contenders include Europe’s leading juvenile filly Tahiyra, Never Ending Story, Statuette, Delightful and Sandy Creek.

Keeneland renews its Phoenix Stakes support

LEADING US thoroughbred sales company Keeneland has agreed to sponsor the Group 1 Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes for a further three years. Last year’s winner Little Big Bear was crowned European champion two-year-old based on his performance in the Curragh race. Prize money for the six-furlong contest will increase to €350,000 in 2024 and €400,000 in 2025.

Passing of Vivienne Reilly

THE racing and bloodstock community was deeply saddened by the news this week of Vivienne Reilly’s passing. Wife of bloodstock agent Eamonn Reilly, Vivienne (née Foley) was from a racing family herself and was well-known in the business. She passed away peacefully last Monday, after a short illness, at St Francis’ Hospice in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin. She leaves behind three children.

15-year ban for jockey

FORMER jockey Danny Brock has been banned by the British Horseracing Authority from race-riding for 15 years after being found guilty of engaging in corrupt and fraudulent practices by stopping two horses running on their merits as part of a betting conspiracy.

Also involved was Sean McBride - who was assistant to father and trainer Charlie McBride – and he was disqualified from the sport for seven years. Four other unlicensed individuals remain warned off for failing to cooperate with the inquiry.

Fairyhouse on Wednesday

FAIRYHOUSE will race on Wednesday having lost last Thursday’s card to the weather. Today’s Ascot card was cancelled on Thursday and the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase is rescheduled to Cheltenham next Saturday reverting to the original early closing entries.

Today’s Haydock fixture is subject to an 8am inspection but was raceable on Friday. Sunday’s Taunton meeting is off due to frozen ground.

Joseph O’Brien on HRI

JOSEPH O’Brien has been appointed to the board of Horse Racing Ireland. He succeeds Michael Halford as the trainers’ association representative. Conor O’Neill, chairman of the Association of Irish Racecourses, has been reappointed to the board.

Death of Carrie Acheson

CARRIE Acheson, mother of racehorse owner Brian Acheson, died peacefully last Monday at Tipperary University Hospital. Predeceased by her husband, Hugh, Mrs Acheson was a former TD for South Tipperary, Mayor of Clonmel, President of the Irish Red Cross, President of the Clonmel Show and member of the National Ploughing Association.