Wilson guides Internal Bourbon to victory in Euro Turf Series trial at Woodbine | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Wilson guides Internal Bourbon to victory in Euro Turf Series trial at Woodbine

Jockeys and horses round a corner as they take part in a clockwise trial run at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on May 16, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Woodbine Racetrack, Michael Burns
May 16, 2016 - 12:17 PM

TORONTO - It was a successful Euro Turf Series trial for Emma-Jayne Wilson and Internal Bourbon.

Wilson guided the four-year filly to victory in a five-furlong trial turf race Monday morning at Woodbine Racetrack. Internal Bourbon was one of seven horses to participate in the exhibition race leading up to the Euro Turf series opener June 10.

"I don't know if we can label it the first official winner but we can call the day a success," Wilson said. "Everyone was safe and we all learned a little more about moving forward with this.

"I'm pleased with how it turned out."

Woodbine is introducing clockwise racing this year, a shift from the traditionally run counter-clockwise events. Up to 40 races will make up the Euro Turf Series, making Woodbine the first North American track to offer clockwise racing on a regular basis.

Major turf races like the Breeders' Stakes and Woodbine Mile will remain counter-clockwise.

Clockwise races will go on turf only and reduce the wear and tear on the final turn and backstretch of the 1 1/2-mile E.P. Taylor course. They will generally cover 5 1/2 furlongs to utilize the area from the traditional first turn down to the finish line, which is rarely used as most counter-clockwise races don't require two turns.

Wilson, the only female jockey ever to win the Queen's Plate, said the short distance between the start and the first turn required adjustments Monday for both jockey and horse. But adjusting on the fly is nothing new to Wilson, who has run clockwise in both Hong Kong and England.

"It's a different kind of turn and you have to make sure your horse is prepared for it," she said. "In the early portion of the race, you can't shoot them forward too quick.

"It's a matter of being balanced and having the horse in a nice rhythm before the turn. We will have more horses run that direction, we'll all get more accustomed to it."

Emile Ramsammy, who rode Zazinga to third Monday, also has previous clockwise racing experience in his native Trinidad and enjoyed the run.

"I did feel a different bounce coming down the hill onto the shorter stretch," he said. "I thought the horses all handled it well.

"The riders didn't ride as aggressive as they will in the afternoon so it will be a little different for sure. We just wanted to see how the horses would handle it and we didn't have any problems at all."

Ramsammy figures clockwise racing will be a bigger adjustment initially for jockeys than horses because riders will have to use a different muscles than they would going counter-clockwise. However, he feels jockeys will come around quickly.

"I thought this morning I would've felt it," he said. "But, you know, once the gate opened and the race was running, I found I didn't really feel it as much as I expected to.

"But it did take me a while to get adjusted to going the other way as a rider."

Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, Internal Bourbon's conditioner, grew up with clockwise racing in his native England and believes in the concept.

"I think it adds interest," he said. "Horses adapt to it very easily . . . the horses today all looked comfortable.

"What you will find is some horses actually prefer to go right-handed than left-handed but unless you did both, you'd never know."

Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson was happy with Monday's run.

"We've long realized as we analyse our business that turf racing is where it's at," he said. "Our field sizes are always larger and there's no question our customer likes betting on the turf and having the turf angle.

"So the idea is let's use that part of the turf course that's usually not used much and in order to do it we have to run clockwise, which they do in a good part of the world in any event. It seemed a natural to give it a try and this was very successful."

Lawson said given the popularity of turf racing, Woodbine has thought about building a second turf course.

"Certainly it's one of the options on the table," he said. "We'll take our time and consult with our horsemen, give a report to our board as to the business merits of doing it.

"But we think in order to attract horses, which is our goal, the ideal would be to run six to seven turf races a day here. We think that would go a long ways towards attracting horses here and keeping them here."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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