News flashes: John Velazquez for Rombauer, Qatar sponsors French Derby, Champions Day boost and more

A weekly round-up of international horse racing snippets

Horse Racing Rombauer Preakness Stakes will be ridden in Belmont by John Velazquez
Rombauer: Preakness winner will have John Velazquez in saddle for the Belmont. Photo: Bill Denver/MJC

USA John Velazquez to ride Rombauer in Belmont

John Velazquez has been picked to ride Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer in next month’s Belmont Stakes after Flavien Prat decided to stick with Kentucky Derby third Hot Rod Charlie.

Velazquez became available as both Medina Spirit, on whom he won the Kentucky Derby, and Kentucky Oaks winner Malathaat were ruled out of the final leg of the US Triple Crown.

Velazquez has won the Belmont twice on Union Rags in 2012 and Rags To Riches in 2007 when Rombauer’s trainer Michael McCarthy was working as assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher.

Belmont Stakes betting (Ladbrokes): 11-4 Essential Quality, 100-30 Rombauer, 4 Hot Rod Charlie, Rock Your World, 14 Known Agenda, 16 Bourbonic, Promise Keeper, Rebel’s Romance, Weyburn, 20 bar.

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France Qatar to sponsor French Derby

Qatar has strengthened its partnership with French racing by taking on the sponsorship of the Prix du Jockey Club.

The agreement with Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, who have backed the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe since 2008, will cover the next two years of the French Classic, which will be worth €1.5 million (£1.3m), the richest race in France after the Arc.

• Read more at the France Galop website

GB Champions Day prize-money boost

The Qipco Champion Stakes, the highlight of Qipco British Champions Day, will be the richest race run in Britain in 2021 after prize-money across the card received a 60 per cent increase from last year’s COVID-impacted levels.

The Champion Stakes, run at Ascot on October 16, will be worth £1.2 million, with the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at £1m and the three other Pattern races at £500,000.

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USA Charlatan future uncertain after injury

Saudi Cup runner-up Charlatan has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury and has been sent to a Kentucky farm to recuperate.

The Bob Baffert-trained dual G1 winner was being pointed towards the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont next month but “wasn’t 100 per cent after his most recent breeze”, co-owner Sol Kumin told Baffert has since been banned from having runners at Belmont.

“Under veterinary advice he will get some time off and a decision on his racing career will be determined on reevaluation.”

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Australia Dwayne Dunn recovering from brain injury

Multiple G1-winning jockey Dwayne Dunn is battling a brain injury as he tries to resume his career after a horrifying stalls accident he suffered last year.

Dunn, 47, who has ridden 2,185 winners including 24 at G1 level, hit his head against the crossbar of the stalls at the start of a race in September. He fractured the C6 vertebra in his neck but the brain trauma was not diagnosed. He had to abandon a brief comeback in February and is still not right, he told RSN.

“The first four weeks after the accident, I was fine and I could have got back on a horse and carried on, but the more that I’m doing, the worse it has got. Now I’ve got to a stage that if I get my heart rate up after a light jog, or running, I get vertigo and feel like I want to vomit.”

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Singapore Minister strikes for King Power Racing

King Power Racing landed one of Singapore’s most prestigious races when Minister, who raced as Bye Bye Hong Kong when trained by Andrew Balding in Britain, won the local G1 Kranji Mile.

The six-year-old was registering a first top level victory in the region for New Zealander Donna Logan, who took over his training when Lee Freedman returned to Australia.

• Read more on the Singapore Turf Club website

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