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Storm to be the wizard of Oz

By Frank Brownlow

Ulster jockey Pat Cosgrave will be parting company with Storm The Stars after the colt joined Chris Waller's stables in Australia having left Newmarket trainer William Haggas to continue his career Down Under.

Cosgrave, from Banbridge, was the regular rider as the three-year-old established himself as the leading middle-distance star of his generation, being placed in the English and Irish Derbies and winning the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

He was fourth in the Ladbrokes St Leger on his final British start at Doncaster in September.

One of his first major targets will be the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival which takes place in March and April.

"He left on William's advice. We both talked to the owner and William felt the horse would have a good future in Australia," said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum.

"The horse only came out of quarantine in Melbourne on the 19th and went up to Sydney and is now with Chris Waller, who's the tops.

"There are a lot of good mile-and-a-half races with huge prize-money.

"I'd be surprised if there were many horses as good as him at that distance.

"He will probably be aimed at their Autumn Carnival. Chris Waller has already worked out a programme for him.

"You could even include races for him over a mile and a quarter. He could be versatile over there.

"We thought he would definitely stay the Leger trip and he didn't. A mile and a half is obviously his optimum trip.

"He was a late-developing horse and he should excel as a four, five and six-year-old," he added.

"He had a lot of racing this year because he was a horse William had to keep on top of as he was very fresh at home."

Meanwhile, Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) says its budget for 2016 continues the commitment in previous budgets to provide increased prize-money and to reduce administrative costs for owners and trainers.

The budget also creates a fund to support education and training across the thoroughbred industry. Prize-money will increase to €56.7 million, up by over €3 million.

Minimum race values will increase from €8,000 to €9,000.

There will also be increased percentages of prize-money for placed horses and payments out to six places in races worth €40,000 or more and to five places in all other races.

Funding for the Irish Equine Centre has been increased by €355,000 to just under €2m and over €1 million has been allocated for industry development, education and training.

Administrative charges will fall by approximately €250,000 equating to 8% overall, the third consecutive annual reduction in costs for owners and trainers following previous annual cuts of 10% and 17.5%.

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