Coney Island: connections hope to ready the chaser for Punchestown festival

Alan Crowhurst

Coney Island has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival following his disappointing display at Ascot last month when he was pulled up in the Betfair Ascot Chase.

The Ascot race was intended to help determine whether he would take his chance in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup or Ryanair Chase, but it did not pan out the way connections hoped.

Speaking on Thursday, Frank Berry, racing manager to the Eddie Harty-trained seven-year-old’s owner JP McManus said: “We’ve decided that Coney Island won’t be going to Cheltenham off his poor run at Ascot. We hope to have him back in good form for the Punchestown festival in April.”

Botti welcomes back Guineas hope Capla Temptress

Marco Botti could have a surprise Qipco 1,000 Guineas candidate come May after last year’s Canadian Grade 1 winner Capla Temptress recently returned to his Newmarket yard.

The daughter of Lope De Vega had a busy year in 2017, which kicked off with a 20-1 win at Chelmsford in June before she followed up in a novice contest at Newmarket the following month.

US owners Team Valor purchased the youngster after her easy victory over La Diva on the July course, and she then ran well from a bad draw to be third in the Group 3 Solera Stakes at the same track in August.

Capla Temptress stepped up considerably when shipped to Canada for the Group 1 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine in September, when she comfortably accounted for Dixie Moon.

Switched to Bill Mott in the US after that, Capla Temptress ran a decent race from her new base to be seventh in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar but is now back with Botti.

Capla Temptress has been handed an opening quote of 66-1 by Paddy Power for the 1,000 Guineas and Botti said: “It’s great to have Capla Temptress back with us for the new season and she could well be aimed at the 1,000 Guineas. She ran a great race at the Breeders’ Cup considering she was midfield for most of the way and couldn’t get a clear run.”

Free wi-fi at all JCR courses

Jockey Club Racecourses has completed what it describes as the largest multi-site installation of free public wi-fi in Europe.

Free wi-fi is now available at all its 15 racecourses across all public areas, including grandstands, bars, restaurants, hospitality areas, owners’ and trainers’ areas, parade rings and concourses.

It will also provide use for the Britbet pool betting service launching in July.

The Jockey Club said every course will provide customers with access to a range of several betting sites who have commercial partnerships with them. The model was introduced in 2014 at Cheltenham, where there will be ten partners this year.

JCR chief executive Paul Fisher said: “As well as investing record amounts into prize-money and our racing surfaces, it’s essential we continue to invest in enhancing the experience we offer to our customers.

“Racing is a fantastic day out and we are very clear that free wi-fi is a customer expectation, so I’m very pleased we have completed what amounts to Europe’s largest multi-site system rollout.

“This also creates a range of commercial opportunities, including for partners, engagement through our app, customers sharing their experience on social media and for our forthcoming Britbet pool betting service.”

The 15 Arena Racing Company tracks will be fully equipped with wi-fi by the end of this summer, the racecourse owner announced this week.

Ottesen new Newbury clerk

Keith Ottesen has been appointed clerk of the course at Newbury, succeeding Richard Osgood, who leaves at the end of the year.

Ottesen, who is currently clerk at Chepstow and Ffos Las, joins Newbury in August and will shadow Osgood through the remaining fixtures in 2018 before taking over fully next year.

Newbury chief executive Julian Thick said: “We are delighted Keith will be joining us in the summer. He brings with him a wealth of experience and we look forward to working with him to develop the race programme here as he has done so proficiently in his role as clerk at both Chepstow and Ffos Las.”

Trainer banned after cobalt offence

Trainer Mohamed Daggash has been disqualified for a year in the United Arab Emirates after one of his runners tested positive for prohibited substance cobalt at Al Ain in January.

Emirates Racing Authority stewards bore in mind Daggash’s guilty plea and record in relation to prohibited substance rules. His ban will expire at midnight on February 25, 2019.

No show for Musselburgh

The fourth and last of the racing industry roadshows, scheduled for Musselburgh on Friday, has been postponed due to the poor weather.

A tweet from the BHA read: “We will reschedule this roadshow & will announce a revised date in due course. Apologies for the inconvenience this may cause.”


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