Wednesday 21 March 2018

Think tops market in World Cup

Plum draw sees raider made 5/2 favourite in Dubai

AIDAN O'BRIEN'S So You Think has been cut to 5/2 favourite from 3/1 following yesterday's draw for the Dubai World Cup on Saturday, and he will race out of stall four of 14.

Connections are happy with the draw.

His jockey on Saturday evening will be Joseph O'Brien, who said yesterday: "There's nothing wrong with stall four and there seems to be some pace on which will suit him.

"He's in great form and I think he will take all the beating.

"The Breeders' Cup came at the end of a long season and hopefully he can show how good he is on Saturday."

O'Brien will also ride St Nicholas Abbey and Await The Dawn in Dubai for his father Aidan, and that duo combined to enjoy their first winner of the 2012 Flat season with Robin Hood at Leopardstown last night.

After being touched off in both the first and third races on the card, the O'Brien's hit the mark at a sun-kissed and heaving Leopardstown courtesy of Robin Hood, in front of a crowd of 6,510.

Leopardstown's first ever Student Race Day proved a massive success and is the latest in a string of similar meetings that have had the turnstiles moving, all of which can only be a major plus for Irish racing.

Meanwhile, Horse Racing Ireland yesterday announced that it has amended the scheduled time for Navan's first race on Saturday, in order to coincide with the money-spinning Dubai World Cup.

Currently, Irish betting shops are not allowed to open after 6.30pm between September and March, unless there is an Irish race scheduled at that time or later, meaning that bookmakers' offices would have to close before Saturday's Dubai World Cup, the richest race in the world, which is not due off until 6.40pm.

However, following a request from the off-course betting industry, HRI have now moved the first race at Navan to 3.10pm.

They plan on dividing the 2m4f handicap hurdle to make an eight-race card which would get underway at 2.35pm, with the last at 6.30pm.

One man who won't be in action in Dubai, or anywhere until the end of April, is Richard Hughes.

He had an appeal against a 50-day ban -- imposed on him in India last month -- rejected by the British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel yesterday.

Hughes' hopes of being crowned champion jockey for the first time have now been dealt a severe blow before the season even gets underway, as he will have to concede almost all of April.

The Kildare rider, son of trainer Dessie, will miss out on all the major Guineas trials and cannot resume riding until April 30, after he picked up a ban for 'not riding to instructions', an offence that does not exist in Ireland or the UK.

Hughes tweeted: "It is probably the worst feeling ever of being accused of something u did not do.

"I thought I could rely on UK for justice."

Paddy Power left Hughes unchanged at 3/1 to claim the champion jockey title, but William Hill pushed him out from 5/2 to 5/1.

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