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Countofmontecristo begins Kranji Mile campaign

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Singapore Champion Three-Year-old of his year Countofmontecristo will be looking to add a Kranji Mile (1600m) victory to his illustrious career.

The New Zealand-bred gelding has finished runner-up in the glamour mile previously and trainer Michael Clements has been targeting the race this year with the son of Echoes of Heaven.

Originally scheduled to take place on May 23, the race was postponed to August 6 after a COVID-19 enforced shutdown in Singapore.

He will kick-off his preparation in the Saturday’s $100,000 Class 1 race over 1200m on Polytrack.

"The trip is a touch on the short side for him these days as he is getting old now," Clements said. "But he did well on the track and distance previously. He should be okay.

"Besides, he’s shown at his recent races he’s better off ridden off the pace. Even when he is outpaced, it’s okay, he proved he had a good style of racing from quite a way back.

"As he’s running in the same sort of class, I expect a similar run this Saturday. If there is blistering speed upfront, he should be sharp and fresh enough to sit just behind the leaders."

Victorian horses barred from racing in NSW

Racing NSW has banned horses trained in Victoria from taking part in races in the northern state for an indefinite period.

The ban comes as Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire faces a six-week lockdown due to the spike of COVID-19 cases in Victoria.

Racing NSW chief steward Mark Van Gestel said the decision to ban horses from Victoria was immediate and also affected NSW horses returning home.

"We've put the protocols in place on the basis of risk assessment," Van Gestel told RSN927.

"The transport drivers required to take those horses across the border and then parking at stables and licensed premises and racecourses ... Racing NSW has seen that as a risk that under the circumstances it was not prepared to take."

Van Gestel said Racing NSW would monitor the number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, but noted as there was a six-week lockdown in place he expects the restriction on Victorian horses to remain for that period.

The training partnership of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace along with Chris Waller and Team Hawkes are stables that have large operations in both Victoria and NSW.

As Racing NSW has supervision over racing stables and racecourses, Van Gestel said the movement of horses from Victoria to stud farms in NSW was something for the government to consider.

"Studs are not under the control of Racing NSW and that would be up to the government whether they are considered essential travel between the states," he said.

Victorian jockeys are banned from riding in NSW unless they undergo a 14-day quarantine period while from Friday jockeys from other states are able to ride in NSW without having to undergo quarantine.

Raceform returns in new season

The wait for a weekly racing news and form publication will soon be over with confirmation that RaceForm is set to return in time for the new racing season.

RaceForm, incorporating the TAB’s Best Bets, quickly established its place in the form guide market when it was introduced late last year.

Covid-19 lockdown forced it out of production, however, ongoing work with fields and form data has been completed and RaceForm is scheduled to be back on sale on Thursday July 30.

As well as full fields and form for New Zealand gallops and harness Friday through Sunday, and feature Australian weekend gallops, RaceForm will provide expert form analysis and tips, trackwork and trial pointers from our nationwide network, latest news on the stud and stable scene and insight to the people and horses who make our great sport what it is.

"With industry-wide support, our team will bring punters everything they need in a single weekly volume to enable them to find winners," editor Denis Ryan said.

RaceForm, which will return in its original A4 magazine style, will be available through an ever-widening retail network as well as to subscribers who will receive their weekly edition direct to their home or office in time for weekend racing.

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