Kinane to ride for Oxx after severing partnership with O'Brien

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 12:00am

Michael Kinane ended a hugely successful five-year partnership with the Aidan O'Brien stable late last week and within 48 hours announced he would ride as stable jockey to John Oxx next season in Ireland.

Kinane, 44, winner of last year's Hong Kong Cup on Precision and crowned Irish champion jockey for the 13th time at Leopardstown, will take over from Johnny Murtagh as first rider to the Curragh-based trainer.

'I had an agreement with John for two seasons a while back and I've always looked on him as someone I would like to work with again,' Kinane told Britain's Racing Post.

Murtagh has had trouble with his weight in recent months after suffering an injury to his back at Royal Ascot, where he rode Australian sprinter Choisir to two wins.

Meanwhile, new Hong Kong licensee Jamie Spencer, who won the English St Leger this year for O'Brien aboard Brian Boru, is relishing the prospect of taking over from Kinane at Ballydoyle.

Veteran Pat Eddery brought down the curtain on his glittering career at Doncaster on Saturday and received the biggest cheer ever given to a beaten odds-on chance after finishing third on Gamut in the CIU Serlby Stakes.

The 11-time British champion jockey, who announced his impending retirement in the summer, was also beaten on his four other rides in his last day in the saddle.

He ends a 36-year career, during which he became one of the world's greatest jockeys, with 4,632 victories on the domestic front and just about every big race on the European calendar. Possibly his greatest association was with Europe's 'Horse of the Decade' Dancing Brave in 1986.

The Melbourne spring carnival is over for another year but there is a very public post mortem going on over the undoubted low point of the carnival, the Cox Plate meeting at Moonee Valley on October 25. While the Victoria Racing Club drew record numbers again for their four-day Melbourne Cup meeting at Flemington, Moonee Valley sustained a drop from 38,225 to 30,109 - a figure blamed squarely on the entry price hike to A$50.

The Moonee Valley committee is also getting some thoroughly deserved stick for its decision to not allow Danehill three-year-old Elvstroem to compete in the Cox Plate on the grounds that he had not performed well enough in Group races.

Within 11 days of that decision, Elvstroem was the Victoria Derby winner and the power brokers at Moonee Valley are now engaged in some red-faced finger pointing and belated soul searching.

The New Zealand classic scene opened on the weekend with the running of the One Thousand Guineas, sponsored by New Zealand Bloodstock. Hot favourite Taatletail took the rise to 1,600 metres in her stride and won convincingly for last season's Hong Kong club jockey Michael Walker.

Taatletail (Faltaat - Defensive Lady) was forced to lead the field after jumping brilliantly and with no other horse keen to take up the running. She was taken on and headed by Kainui Belle (a daughter of Cheerful Fortune's sire, Kashani) before fighting back bravely.

Former Hong Kong Mile participant Shogun Lodge collapsed and died in the early stages of Saturday's Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.

Shogun Lodge was the least likely horse to die from an apparent heart failure. The durable seven-year-old, who began racing as a juvenile, had raced 58 times for 13 wins and 20 placings and over A$4.6 million in prizemoney and been sound throughout.