Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 February 2018

Trainers' chief sceptical about plan to assist smaller owners

Some of his jumps were really impressive and he was minded by Bryan Cooper when he faded. (Stock picture)
Some of his jumps were really impressive and he was minded by Bryan Cooper when he faded. (Stock picture)

Johnny Ward

Trainers' Association chief Michael Grassick is sceptical about a plan to hold two races in Ireland every week restricted to owners with just one horse in training, though Horse Racing Ireland says it may discuss the idea with that body.

Some of the many struggling licence holders in racing are supportive of the idea, which is designed to help them, new owners and small existing ones. HRI is far from against the concept, with director of racing Jason Morris expressing an interesting in chatting to the Grassick-led body.

Morris said: "We've no formal approach regarding this specific proposal, although we are always happy to consider new ideas to encourage ownership. Previous similar suggestions to restrict eligibility to certain races, based on trainers or owners, haven't found favour with the Trainers' Association but we will seek their view on this latest idea."

Grassick considers the proposal potentially problem-laden, though he is quick to admit a huge number of trainers are finding it tough to make money.

He said: "There are a couple of issues with this. Firstly, you could find owners opening up accounts in a new name. Secondly, the owners this would target tend to have low-grade horses who run in races in which the major owners in general don't compete.

"There are problems. We're looking for the right formula, fair to everybody. We'll put this on the agenda of our next meeting."

Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien is double-handed as he bids to win the Dubai Fillies' Mile for the third year running at Newmarket today. Rhododendron and Hydrangea contest this year's renewal of the Group One contest.


Churchill faces a sextet in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow. O'Brien's brilliant colt is odds-on and will face stablemate Lancaster Bomber and the William Haggas-trained Rivet.

Tony Martin has two in the Betfred Cesarewitch: Moonmeister and Golden Spear. Willie Mullins has Renneti; Jessie Harrington will run Modem.

A sister to Ballydoyle's triple Group One winner Alice Springs changed hands for 2.1m guineas at Tattersalls yesterday.

Finally, exciting novice Identity Thief may make his debut next week at Punchestown or Galway.

Irish Independent

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