Remembering Lester: A Personal Recollection by John Hammond

It was Wednesday morning, 5 December 1990. The phone rang. 'You running anything at the weekend?'. Inwardly I groaned, I knew what was coming. I was running a handicapper slightly past his best in the 2,100m handicap at Saint-Cloud on the Saturday.  An older horse with his issues, not a comfortable ride, Lester had ridden him 11 days earlier when he was a well beaten third. 'Ok, I'll come and ride him'. And so, to my embarrassment, he flew over at his own expense for one, dodgy ride. It was...

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Arc Hero Torquator Tasso 'Working Well' Ahead of Return

Marcel Weiss, trainer of the reigning Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Torquator Tasso (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}), has provided an upbeat bulletin on the 5-year-old ahead of his eagerly-anticipated return to action at Baden-Baden on Sunday.  Torquator Tasso shocked the racing world by becoming the longest-priced winner in Arc history when returning a 72-1 chance in a race where he had Dermot Weld's globetrotting mare Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal) and Irish Derby hero Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) in behind.  The poster boy of German racing will return in the...

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Confidence Behind 'The Next Sottsass' Ahead of French Derby

Jean-Claude Rouget is not prone to hyperbole so, when the decorated French handler compared the unexposed Al Hakeem (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}) to his only G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) earlier this week, some people did a double take. Not Benoit Jeffroy, who manages Haras de Bouquetot on behalf of the Al Shaqab operation. Jeffroy has long been aware of the standing in which the multiple Classic-winning trainer has held Al Hakeem and, when the colt won the Listed Prix de Suresnes at Chantilly on...

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Racing Cancelled At Auteuil Due To Wage Dispute

Jumps racing at Auteuil Racecourse in France was cancelled on Sunday due to an industrial dispute between France Galop employees and trade union members. The eight-race card included a listed race and a pair of Grade 2 races. The disagreement led to a demonstration in the parade ring. Although an emergency meeting was called to resolve the issue, a resolution was not reached and later talks between the two parties were also unsuccessful. After these efforts failed, the meeting was abandoned. "It's very frustrating for me and for everybody, a...

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Slack Buys Kilflynn Farm

Florida businessman, Robert Slack, founder of Robert Slack, LLC, a Florida real estate brokerage, purchased Kilflynn Farm on Winchester Rd. near Paris, Kentucky. The 417-acre farm, formerly owned by Denis Brosnan, was originally part of Stone Farm. Joe Riddell of the Riddell Smith Group at Rector Hayden Realtors handled the sale. "I have been interested in a farm in Kentucky for many years, and when this one became available, I finally took the plunge, and I am excited to be in the same neighborhood as Claiborne, Machmer Hall, Hidden Brook,...

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JRA Named Official Partner of the IFHA Conference

The Japan Racing Association (JRA) is the new official partner of the 55th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities. The conference, which is normally held in October, is organised by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). The JRA will promote Japanese racing on the and social media channels, while the partnership is also expected to further development of international horse racing and international cooperation. "We are pleased to have the JRA become our partner for the Federation's signature conference," said IFHA Chairman Louis Romanet. "Our conference, which traditionally is...

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Hill 'n' Dale Stallions Settling in at Xalapa

A caravan of four massive Sallee Horse Vans journeyed from Fayette County to Bourbon County today to deliver the 13 members of the Hill 'n' Dale stallion roster to their new residence: Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa. While Hill 'n' Dale President John Sikura said there was apprehension going into the big move, everything went smoothly. "It's kind of like when a horse goes in the starting gate- lots can go wrong," he said. "But thanks to the quality and class of the horses and the horsemanship of everybody who...

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Arc Weekend Attendance Capped at 1,000 People, Including Racing Staff

Just seven days ahead of the Oct. 3-4 G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting, Paris and its immediate suburbs were placed into the Reinforced Alert Zone (ZAR) due to a rise in COVID-19 cases on Saturday. This requires France Galop to limit attendance at race meetings at ParisLongchamp, Auteuil and Saint-Cloud to only 1,000 people per day, including racing staff. Priority access will be given to connections of starters at each meeting of the weekend, with owners able to enjoy the day thanks to a quota of six...

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Arc Crowd Limited To 5,000

A maximum of 5,000 people will be permitted on course at ParisLongchamp for the Oct. 4 G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, France Galop announced on Friday. Paris is once again considered a red zone for coronavirus and an exemption for a larger crowd could not be made. The same restrictions will apply to ParisLongchamp's Oct. 3 card. Access to the racecourse will be restricted to horsepeople (including some owners and breeders) and those required to put on the event. A statement from France Galop read in part, "France Galop...

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France's Restart Rewarded With a Class Assembly

Along with New York and London, Paris has earned another, more unwelcome renown of late but on the day that most of the rest of France emerge from their doors closed shut by COVID-19, the Bois de Boulogne bears witness to the first major sporting action since mid-March. Such is the tightrope nature of the industry's predicament at present, it was enough to convince President Macron at the 11th hour to allow racing to take place within the "red zone" which is still under strict lockdown. ParisLongchamp has seen its...

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Murphy's Success No Exaggeration

When Joe Murphy purchased the 350-acre Stoneleigh Farm 13 years ago, the Lexington businessman admitted the land was mostly for "relaxation," but the operation hit the big time as the breeder of multiple Grade I winner Exaggerator (Curlin) and again when selling that star's half-sister by Medaglia d'Oro for $1.3 million at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale last August. Murphy returns to Saratoga next week with a yearling full-sister to Exaggerator who sells as hip 206 through the Warrendale Sales consignment during Tuesday's second session of the auction. Murphy, who owns...

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