• A weekly round-up of international horse racing snippets
USA Medina Spirit to face Concert Tour in Preakness
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit moves on to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown on May 15 – and his main adversary may come from within his own barn after news that Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Concert Tour has been given the go-ahead to run.
Ante-post favourite for Kentucky at one stage, Concert Tour missed Churchill Downs after an odds-on defeat in the Arkansas Derby.
Beaten Kentucky Derby favourite Essential Quality will bypass Pimlico but stablemates Mandaloun, the Derby runner-up, and Caddo River are set to run, while other new shooters include Japan’s France Go De Ina.
Saturday’s Kentucky Derby proved more popular with TV viewers than the Oscars and the final round of golf’s Masters, averaging an audience of nearly 15 million.
France Mare Australis stakes Arc claim
Mare Australis made an early statement of his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe potential when making his G1 breakthrough with an all-the-way victory in the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp on Sunday [May 2].
The four-year-old is in the same Gestut Schlenderhan ownership as last year’s Arc runner-up In Swoop. Trainer Andre Fabre, who has won a record eight Arcs, said: “He’ll be a better horse in the autumn and I always thought he was a horse for the Arc. He’s had no issues and has simply been backward.”
Arc betting (Ladbrokes): 7 Love, Tarnawa, 8 Mishriff, 16 Chrono Genesis, Contrail, Mare Australis, 20 High Definition, Raabihah, Santa Barbara, 25 bar
• Read more at the Racing Post
Australia Major Melbourne Cup changes
New measures have been introduced in a bid to stem the number of injuries suffered by international runners at the Melbourne Spring Carnival following the death of Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
Among a list of 41 recommendations endorsed by Racing Victoria, which have received a mixed response in Europe, is a cap on the number of international horses permitted at the Werribee quarantine centre (down to 24 from as many as 42 in 2018).
European participants will also be limited to just one start prior to the Melbourne Cup and will have to undergo new veterinary checks including full-body scintigraphy and CT/MRI scans at their owners’ expense before travel.
• Read more at the Racing Victoria website
France Antoine Griezmann becomes PMU ambassador
World Cup-winning footballer Antoine Griezmann has taken on a role with France’s pool betting operator by becoming a PMU ambassador.
Griezmann, who plays his club football for Barcelona, has his own string of racehorses with Philippe Decouz and stands the stallion Tornibush. He will be used to help introduce horse racing to a younger and broader audience.
France Maisons-Laffitte training centre revamped
France Galop has completed the €1.5 million modernisation of the Maisons-Laffitte training centre just outside Paris. The revamp of the 55-hectare site, where 500 Flat and jumps horses are in training, will enable it to accommodate up to 800 horses.
• Read more about the Maisons-Laffitte training centre