Horse Racing News – 12 June 2017

Tapwrit The One For Todd in Belmont and Deaths and Departures as Ascot Looms

RIP Sprint King

Last week brought the sad news that recently retired trainer David “Dandy” Nicholls had sadly passed away at the age of 61. Unfortunately mired in controversy in his latter years, there can be no disputing Nicholls contribution to and success in the world of racing. No slouch in the saddle having ridden 400 winners during his career, he will perhaps be best remembered for his even greater prowess as a trainer.

A master with sprinters, his successes included wins in just about every major sprint race going, including the Ayr Gold Cup, Haydock Sprint Cup, July Cup, Nunthorpe Stakes, and Prix de l’Abbaye.

Ferguson Farewell To Boys In Blue

Seemingly still to fully settle following the Mahmood Al Zarooni drugs scandal a few seasons back, last week also saw the latest reshuffle at Godolphin’s power house operation. Whether he jumped or was pushed it seems John Ferguson’s floundering relationship with trainer Saeed bin Suroor was the major contributing factor to his departure as Chief Executive last week. The former jumps trainer is a vastly experienced horseman, and leaves a big pair of shoes to fill for the boys in blue.

Not that Godolphin showed any immediate ill effects as the operation rattled in a four-timer in the first four races on Saturday’s Newmarket card. It is success in the Classic’s and major Group One’s which remains the main objective however, and Godolphin will be looking to make a splash at Royal Ascot as ever.

Belmont Success On Tap For Pletcher

Over in America, Saturday evening saw the third leg of the prestigious Triple Crown take place at Belmont Park. This year’s Belmont Stakes may have been shorn of a little star quality as the Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, and Preakness hero Cloud Computing both skipped this contest, whilst last season’s champion two year old Classic Empire was a late withdrawal from the race. Something still had to win it though and this year the honours went to the Todd Pletcher runner, Tapwrit.

Only sixth in the Kentucky Derby, the son of the mighty Tapit put in a career best here to reel in the favourite, Irish War Cry in the straight. Having also sent out Always Dreaming to that Kentucky Derby success, Pletcher has claimed two of the major contests in the US this season, and when it comes to the Triple Crown, two of three ain’t bad.

Awesome Ascot Looming Large

All eyes of course now turn to the best flat racing festival of the season, bar none: Royal Ascot. A meeting where we will once again be privileged to see some of the top US talent gracing our turf. Wesley Ward’s speed machine Lady Aurelia tops the billing , but Todd Pletcher also looks set to be represented with American Patriot in the Queen Anne Stakes. With the best of the British, Irish, French and others also on show, we can’t wait for the action to kick off on Tuesday 20th June.