Frankie Dettori has spoken of his devastation following the death of popular Newmarket figure John Duffy on Monday at the age of 51.
Duffy, a former stable lads boxing champion, had a long career in racing with the likes of Sir Henry Cecil and Michael Bell before becoming a stalls handler. He worked as a driver for Dettori in later years
Dettori said: “I’m utterly devastated. John was a larger than life guy who become a close family friend and our families spent many happy holidays together.
“He drove me around for around five years and you couldn’t meet a nicer bloke. My kids are close to his kids and I’m devastated for all of us but especially for Amanda and his two girls.”
Duffy had two spells as a stable lad with Michael Bell in his younger years and the Derby winning trainer remembers him well.
He said: “John was with me first when I was just starting up and was a great boxer. I remember we won two of the fights at the stable lads boxing finals one year despite only having ten staff.
“He won the heavyweight and Richard Mullen won the lightweight. He was the nicest man you could ever meet and our thoughts are with Amanda and his girls.”
Duffy leaves a widow Amanda, and two girls. His funeral will be held at the Our Lady Immaculate and St Ethelreda Catholic Church in Newmarket on March 8 at 1pm.
Convey not a certain Winter Derby runner
Sir Michael Stoute has warned that last year’s winner Convey is not certain to run in next Saturday’s Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield, for which the sponsors make him 5-1 co-favourite with Deauville.
Stoute, who is also aiming 2017 Brigadier Gerard Stakes winner at the Group 3, said: “Convey had a little hiccup the other day. It was minor, and he’s back in work, but it’s just put him a little bit behind schedule and so he’s not certain to go.
“Autocratic is in very good shape though. It’s not an ideal track for him, but he’s got plenty of ability and we are very pleased with him.”
Convey followed up last year’s Winter Derby success by taking the valuable Easter Classic over the same course and distance but raced only once more, finishing down the field in a Group 1 in Hong Kong in May. Autocratic was also lightly raced.
Stoute revealed: “Convey suffered badly from travel sickness on his trip to Hong Kong and he took a long time to recover. Autocratic had some little niggles, but he’s over them now.”
Syringe found at Kelso sent for analysis
An oral dosing syringe has been sent to BHA headquarters for analysis after it was discovered on the floor of a stable box at Kelso’s meeting on Thursday.
An employee of trainer Keith Dalgleish found the syringe in the bedding of a stable and handed it in to an official.
After interviewing the stable staff member, clerk of the course and veterinary officer, the stewards sent on the item to the BHA for further consideration.
In response to the matter, the BHA released the following statement: “Oral dosing syringes [i.e. those to which you are not able to affix a needle] are permitted in racecourse stables on permission of the veterinary officer for administration of glycerine [or water, for which a bulb syringe would usually be used].
“Whilst their presence is therefore not uncommon, in this instance due to the nature of discovery the BHA is considering the matter to ensure there are no wider concerns.”
Scoop6 riches could reach £600,000
The Scoop6 pot could reach £600,000 in the combined win and bonus pools on Saturday after a six week sequence of rollovers.
The bet will be made up of two races at Haydock, three at Ascot and one at Wincanton and include the Betfred Grand National Trial as leg three and Betfair Ascot Chase as leg four.
The win fund stands at £269,921 while there is £172,774 to play for in the bonus fund if the Scoop6 is landed.
Totepool spokesman Matt Hulmes said: “After six successive weeks of being unclaimed the Scoop6 is soaring towards £600,000 this Saturday. With a maximum of 65 declared runners over the six legs, punters will be their licking their lips at a crack at the huge prize funds.”