By: Chris Cook
British trainers have been electrified this morning by receipt of an email from the BHA saying that a product which has been in widespread use contains an anabolic steroid. Not only must trainers cease to use Regumate immediately, they must get any bottles of it out of the yard right away.
Regumate has long been used to control fertility in fillies and mares but recent news stories in Australia suggested it may contain Trendione. The BHA initially thought the European version of the product might be sufficiently different from the Australasian version as to be safe but tests have now shown this is not the case.
I’m told that British trainers have used Regumate less and less in recent years, partly because there’s a two-week withdrawal time before the horse can race, creating the risk that the filly might then come into season before reaching the track. That two-week withdrawal time might also explain why we’ve had no positive tests for Trendione.
In more heartwarming news, John Dunlop is to be remembered with a race named after him this weekend … in Italy! I must admit it had passed me by, as I reflected on his many achievements after the great man’s passing in the summer, that he had trained the winners of more than 100 races at San Siro. Such is the case, however, according to a missive this morning from the International Racing Bureau.
His wins there included nine Group Ones: the Gran Criterium (four times), the Gran Premio del Jockey Club (three times) and the Gran Premio di Milano (twice). So it is entirely fitting that San Siro will stage the Premio Monterosa Memorial John Dunlop on Sunday, with Harry Dunlop on hand to present the trophy.
Yes, it’s only a handicap, but God knows he liked to win those as well. When you spend your working life in Sussex and they commemorate you in Milan, you’ve done well.
One footnote to yesterday’s piece; there’s a report this morning in Another Place which contradicts my assertion that Shark Hanlon was not found in breach of raceday administration of a cobalty substance. I’ve spoken this morning to the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and been assured that my report was accurate and Hanlon definitely wasn’t found in breach of that rule. The fact that these clarifications have now spilled into a second day just goes to show that the original verdict lacked the necessary clarity.
Today’s nap is Genetics (2.20), representing the red-hot Andrew Balding team. This four-year-old has had three wins from his last five starts and can easily be forgiven a beaten effort at the Ebor meeting when he was stepped up to two miles. I think he’s capable of winning again off his current mark, now that he’s stepped back in distance in a less competitive heat.
One query would be ground. They’ve had 10mm of rain at Newbury overnight and I reckon it’ll ride a bit slower than ‘good to soft in places’ would suggest. Genetics ran poorly on his only previous outing on a slow surface but he was not then the horse he is now and his breeding suggests he ought to cope. He’s 8-1.
You can get 6-1 about Nebo (3.55) in a later Listed race, which seems very reasonable about a horse with form figures of 131 at the track, coming from a yard that remains among the winners. About this time last year, Nebo won the Horris Hill over this course and distance and he hasn’t had soft ground since then.
Up at Ayr, Dark Defender (4.10) is my pick in the Bronze Cup. He dropped 11lb in a year before scoring at Hamilton last month and only gets a 5lb penalty for that. He’s got form on soft, including when winning here in 2016, and looks an each-way option at 22-1.
At similar odds, I’ll take a chance on Frame Rate (5.20) in the last. He’s had a good break since the most recent of his three defeats in Ireland, where he was trained by someone who has never had a winner on the Flat. He is now with Iain Jardine and it wouldn’t take much improvement for him to get involved.