Dettori and Doyle among Racing League jockeys

Frankie Dettori, Oisin Murphy, Jim Crowley and Hollie Doyle are among the top jockeys who will be in action in the new Racing League competition this summer.

Dettori is one of three riders, along with Jamie Spencer and Luke Morris, for the Newmarket team of trainers John Gosden, Sir Mark Prescott, Robert Cowell and David Simcock.

Champion jockey Murphy will be riding for the Andrew Balding and Richard Hannon partnership. Hayley Turner and Sean Levey are his teammates.

Murphy said: “This is an exciting innovation and considering the prize money there should be fierce competition between the teams. I look forward to being involved.”

Oisin Murphy is looking forward to the competition
Oisin Murphy is looking forward to the competition (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

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Turner said: “It’s great that the racing industry has decided to try something a bit different. I know the jockeys and the trainers are all really excited. I think it will help to capture a non-racing audience and be a fun event all round.”

Crowley has Hector Crouch and Pat Cosgrave in his group for trainers George Baker, David Menuisier, Gary Moore and Amanda Perrett.

Doyle has Jack Mitchell and Cieren Fallon in her corner for another Newmarket combo of Michael Bell, Ed Dunlop, James Fanshawe and Roger Varian.

There is also an Irish team from the stables of Donnacha and Joseph O’Brien, with Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic-winning rider David Egan combining with Gavin Ryan and Dylan Browne McMonagle.

Team France are currently awaiting confirmation of regulations surrounding Brexit and Covid-19 before announcing further details regarding their nominated jockeys.

Each jockey will be able to ride in a maximum of 18 of the 36 races in the competition.

In addition to the prize money on offer, jockeys will also be vying for a £50,000 prize pot awarded to the three jockeys who score the most points.

Twelve teams in all will compete at six meetings, featuring six races over six consecutive Thursday summer nights, starting at Newcastle on July 29.

Points will be awarded from first to 10th in each race, with the highest scoring team over all 36 races winning the league.

Oli Harris, Racing League’s chief marketing officer, said “We’re delighted that the teams have now confirmed their jockeys. The likes of Hollie, Oisin and Frankie will no doubt grab the headlines, but we are also excited to have some of the most talented up and coming jockeys in UK and Ireland on board, as well as experienced campaigners such as Paul Hanagan, Martin Dwyer and Jamie Spencer.

“This is an important step in painting a complete picture of the Racing League.

“We will follow this by announcing the principal naming partner of each team, before the 30 horses in each team’s squad are selected in July.”

Gosden heads Newmarket team as Racing League sides are announced

John Gosden is combining with three fellow Newmarket trainers as one of the 12 teams in the Racing League competition – which launches next summer.

This year’s champion Flat trainer will join forces with Sir Mark Prescott, Robert Cowell and David Simcock in the new initiative which will see the dozen teams compete across 36 races over six weeks at Newcastle, Doncaster, Lingfield and Windsor.

Each event will be worth £50,000, with prize money totalling £1.8 million for the series, which will run from July 29 until September 2, 2021.

There is another Newmarket team of Michael Bell, Ed Dunlop, James Fanshawe and Roger Varian, making three in all after the first six squads were announced two weeks ago.

In the remaining six teams announced on Tuesday, Lambourn will be represented by Clive Cox, Nicky Henderson, Charlie Hills and Jamie Osborne.

Rutland trainer Mick Appleby will join northern-based Michael Dods, David O’Meara and Paul Midgley – while Mick Channon is partnering with Paul and Oliver Cole, Eve Johnston Houghton and Hughie Morrison for an additional southern-based team.

French handlers Philippe Decouz, Gavin Hernon and Edouard Monfort will combine to add to the Irish challenge of brothers Donnacha and Joseph O’Brien announced in the first batch of six.

Jeremy Wray, Racing League’s chief executive said: “We are really pleased to have such an illustrious group of trainers forming the 12 teams and are delighted to be adding an international flavour with the teams from Ireland and France.

“The next step will be for each team to select their three jockeys.”

O’Brien brothers to form Racing League team

Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien will work together as one of 12 teams in the Racing League competition which launches next summer.

The new initiative will see teams compete across 36 races – with each event worth £50,000 and total prize-money of £1.8million – over six weeks at Newcastle, Doncaster, Lingfield and Windsor.

The O’Briens will form the Irish team, with Tim Easterby and Richard Fahey representing the north while Charlie Fellowes, Hugo Palmer and George Scott are combining to form the first Newmarket-based squad.

There are three teams in the south, comprising of Andrew Balding and Richard Hannon as one side, George Baker, David Menuisier, Gary Moore and Amanda Perrett as another, with Wiltshire-based trainers, Roger Charlton, Alan King, Martyn Meade and Brian Meehan also banding together.

Six teams are still to be announced, with each outfit nominating 30 horses and three jockeys, plus a team manager who will decide on a selection for each race.

Oli Harris, Racing League’s chief marketing officer, said: “We’re thrilled by the broad range of support from trainers. We will shortly confirm the remaining six teams followed by details of the jockeys chosen to represent each team.”

In a change to previously stated rules, and with regard for the British Horsracing Authority’s review of the current whip rules which due to be published next year, the competition will no longer be a ‘hands and heels’ event in 2021.

Racing League to kick off at Newcastle

The Racing League will stage its first fixture at Newcastle on July 29 next year – with almost £2 million up for grabs over six scheduled fixtures.

Created by Championship Horse Racing, the new concept was supposed to begin this season – but given the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, it was delayed.

There will be six races at each meeting, all set to offer £50,000 in prize money.

As well as Newcastle, the other fixtures are at Doncaster (August 5), Lingfield (August 12 and 26) and Windsor (August 19) – before the league reaches a conclusion back at Gosforth Park on September 2.

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Championship Horse Racing’s CEO Jeremy Wray told Sky Sports Racing, on whose channel all the races will be televised: “Hopefully it’s a small beacon of light in a pretty depressing background – hopefully it’s good news for the sport.

“We’ll have 12 teams, all in their own bespoke colours, (and) jockeys will ride just for one designated team with their names on the back of the shirt. Anyone who has watched other team sports will recognise the format.

“We’ve got six meetings, from Newcastle and Doncaster in the north to Windsor and Lingfield in the south – it’s consecutive Thursday evenings, six races each night.

“The format will be consistent each week. Regular racegoers will be pleased to see 12-runner races right through the card, and hopefully if we get spectators there it will be a fun-filled day from early afternoon.”

Each team is set to comprise horses from a collaboration of stables.

Wray added: “Some of the larger trainers are pairing up, with smaller trainers going as many as four to a team, and they’ll have a squad of up to 30 horses – plotting their way through using that squad, with a transfer window in about week three or four, as we don’t want them running out of horses.

“The important thing is that they only use these horses, because we want to build up familiarity and consistency so that people recognise the jockeys and horses with a certain team.

“Broadly, racing has been very supportive. But any initiative that is offering £50,000 per race to their beleaguered owners in a 0-90 handicap, you’d expect it – as it is six or seven times what they’d normally race for.

“We’ll announce details later of an overall prize, so trainer and jockeys have a real incentive to try and win the league.”