News flashes: Almond Eye in foal, French doping scandal, £6m Royal Ascot and more …

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Horse Racing Almond Eye Japan Cup 2020
Almond Eye (Christophe Lemaire) wins the Japan Cup at Tokyo racecourse in November. Photo: JRA

Japan Almond Eye in foal to Epiphaneia

Japanese racing great Almond Eye has been scanned in foal to fellow Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia, who stands at the Shadai Stallion Station. Retired after reclaiming her Japan Cup crown in 2020, Almond Eye was a nine-time G1 winner and world #1 according to Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s global rankings.

The daughter of star sprinter Lord Kanaloa is a dual Japanese Horse of the Year. Epiphaneia is the sire of 2020 fillies’ Triple Crown winner Daring Tact, who was third to Almond Eye in the Japan Cup.

France Five-year ban for Marcialis in doping scandal

After an investigation that has rocked French racing, G1-winning trainer Andrea Marcialis has been banned until April 2025 for offences including “an act of deliberate doping”. 

Italian-born Marcialis, 35, was sixth in the French trainers’ title race in 2020. France Galop stewards also found him guilty of running a ‘shadow’ training operation in the name of another trainer.

• Read more at the Racing Post website

USA 18-month prison sentence in Servis-Navarro case

USA: The first defendant in the alleged doping conspiracy involving former trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro has been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.

Drug supplier Scott Robinson, one of 27 defendants, also forfeits in excess of $3.8 million for his involvement in the doping scheme. He pleaded guilty to the sale and distribution of “adulterated and misbranded drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs marketed to racehorse trainers and others in the racehorse industry”.

• Full story at the BloodHorse website

GB £6m prize-money at Royal Ascot

Prize-money at Royal Ascot will reach £6 million across five days in June 2021 – a 66% increase on the Covid-affected 2020 meeting, but still adrift of the £8m initially tabled for 2020 before the pandemic. The King George in July will be back up to £875,000 (from £400,000).

Royal Ascot on agenda for Godolphin’s Australian star Bivouac

Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson explained: “With restricted attendances in 2021 and pandemic insurance cover no longer available, the business will need to absorb a significant loss this year in order to deliver our wish to support the industry with the most prize-money that we can prudently afford.”

• Read more at the Ascot website

Bahrain Dubai target for King’s Cup winner Glen Force

After his King’s Cup victory at Sakhir racecourse on Friday [Mar 12], Glen Force is set to run in either the Sheema Classic or Dubai Turf at Meydan on March 27. Sold out of Sir Mark Prescott’s yard for 160,000gns at Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training Sales, the four-year-old now represents Bahraini-based Fawzi Nass.

• More about racing in Bahrain at BHRA website

Canada Marquis Downs set to close

Canada is set to lose another racetrack with news that there will be no more thoroughbred racing at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon after 50 years. Owners Prairieland Park issued a statement on March 12 outlining their intention to bring a professional soccer team to the province of Saskatchewan on what is currently racetrack land.

• Read more at Canadian Thoroughbred website

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