Ruby on Stars for French trip
CHAMPION jumps trainer Willie Mullins saddles three runners -- Thousand Stars, Final Approach and Dorset Square -- in the Prix la Barka Hurdle at Auteuil tomorrow.
Also scheduled to take in the €67,888 Grade Two is the Paul Gilligan-trained Berties Dream, due to be partnered for the first time by Timmy Murphy.
Run over two miles and five furlongs, the Barka is a leading trial for next month's French Champion Hurdle, a race that Mullins won back-to-back renewals of with Nobody Told Me and Rule Supreme in 2003 and '04.
The Carlow-based handler confirmed this week that all three of tomorrow's runners, along with Quevega, are being aimed at the main event, known locally as the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil, on June 18. Ruby Walsh has opted for Thousand Stars, the grey that finished second to Quevega under Walsh's sister Katie at Punchestown.
Final Approach, a last-gasp hero under Walsh in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, will be ridden by David Casey, while Dorset Square is the mount of Davy Condon. The only other Irish-trained runner on the card is Edward O'Grady's Sailors Warn. Philip Carberry's mount finished sixth in the Triumph Hurdle, and tackles a Grade Three for four-year-olds tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Turf Club yesterday published a number of new rules that deal with the laying of horses on betting exchanges by racing industry personnel. The rules are designed to increase the power of the regulating body to investigate the use of privileged information for corrupt purposes.
"One of the biggest threats to the integrity of racing comes from the laying of horses to lose on betting exchanges," Turf Club senior steward John McStay said of the new directives, "and it is imperative that we have comprehensive rules in place to deal with any breaches."
Frankel has been ranked the joint-best racehorse in the world after his 2,000 Guineas romp catapulted him alongside Aussie star Black Caviar at the top of the rankings for 2011.
Both horses have achieved official ratings of 130 in the last six months, with Frankel's six-length Newmarket cruise awarded the highest rating in the Classic since Zafonic back in 1993.
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