RACING AHEAD with Tony McCormick

Racing Ahead

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Racing pundit Tony McCormick from www.irishbigracetrends.com beforetheoff.com and racing radio station racingfm.com presents his weekly column.

It was a Bank Holiday weekend of retirements as an equine hero and a leading heroine had time called on their careers.

Willie Mullins announced on Twitter at 5.40am on Monday: ‘Today marks the end of an era for my team and me. HurricaneFly has been retired. He was a horse of a lifetime and a privilege to train.’ The difficult decision was taken by The Fly’s owners, George Creighton and Rose Boyd, together with Mullins himself, to bring the curtain down on a magnificent hurdling career.

The Montjeu gelding ran 30 races at Grade One level, which saw him win a record-breaking 22 of those contests; including 10 Grade Ones at Leopardstown, where he remained unbeaten.

Leading lady jockey Haley Turner also announced that she intends to retire at the end of the season. The 32-year-old said on Monday that she had not taken the decision lightly, but had grown frustrated by the lack of recent opportunities, both during the week and booking top rides at the top level.

Turner hopes to pursue a career in the media, while exploring more opportunities outside of the game.

She is contracted to Racing UK where she writes a weekly blog for their website, but you can expect her to turn up on the ailing Channel 4 Racing, where any new experienced input would be an advantage to the ‘hot-potch’ of current analysts.

There is no doubt that the rides have dried up for Turner in recent seasons. The Group One winning jockey rode 100 winners in 2008, with that total falling to 88 in 2011 and to a lowly 40 in 2014.

James Toller, who won the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2004 with Bachelor Duke, is a trainer to quit at the end of the season after deciding it is no longer viable to continue training with a small string of horses, while Olly Stevens, who saddled a Grade One winner in the United States and a juvenile winner at Royal Ascot in three seasons as a trainer, announced his decision to not renew his training license at the end of the current flat season.

Only 12 horses remain engaged in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster next month, the Flat season’s final Classic, after the latest entry stage.

Six of the 12 are trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, including Order Of St George, who took the Irish St Leger Trial in facile style by seven-and-a-half lengths. The Galileo colt looked the real deal as he stretched away from the seven runner field and has had a carefully managed season, with just three starts in the current campaign, the three-year-old is the current ante-post favourite at 3-1.

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