ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (5th September – 11thSeptember)

Introduction

Only a select number of horses were sent out to run this week, but it was particularly nice to have Micheal Nolan back riding for us again having recovered from his injury. Adam Wedge came into school Monday morning and brought Jack Tudor in to give him a hand. We schooled: Artois, Kapitaliste, Minella Voucher and Argus, all of which went well enough.

Round Up of runners

Reshaan kicked off the week at Lingfield and ran well in spite of his nemesis Aiguillete impeding him on multiple occasions. I can only describe it as like having a shadow as time and time again Reshaan had to check his run and was even broadsided by this horse in the later stages. This in turn forced Reshaan to go wide around the field and waste ground, but still finished eighth of seventeen despite relentless interference.

Kempton saw us finish another eighth, but this time with Mr Minerals. He never really got going.

Enmeshing was sent to Wolverhampton Saturday but was always up against it given his wide draw. This unfortunately got the better of Enmeshing as he was always out wide and never able to find the rail. Despite this he was only beaten 10l, which given the extra distance he covered going wide leaves me encouraged for the future.

Chasing Headlights had a tough day at Newton Abbot Monday, there was a lot of pace going into the race giving us competition at the front. Annoyingly he was jumped into at the second flight and this ruined his race.

Tuesday French Mix was sent to Catterick whilst Polo The Mumm made the much shorter journey to Worcester. Polo did good job looking after Tamby Welch in a race where there were multiple fallers, ultimately finishing mid field. French Mix on the other hand was elected to sit in this time unlike her usual tactics, but she never made life easy for herself puling keenly. Turning in she went to the outside of the field and looked a possible threat, ultimately the weight got the better of her. Top weight is always hard to defy, with the winner carrying nineteen less, but this should put Frenchie in a good position to challenge on the All Weather this winter.  

Chiropractor

Many of you will have met Charlotte on the yard at one point or another and will know her work.  Having been brought up by my mother who has always been a strong believer in correcting horses backs, I have continued this at West Buckland and Charlotte has been invaluable in doing this.

Typical signs of a horse with a bad back are, landing in his fences, failing to stride out, hanging, slow to warm up into a race etc. Luckily for us there are still trainers out there who do not correct horses’ backs meaning that we immediately have an opportunity to improve a horse from the sales.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 19/20

Earnings - £25,436

Wins - 3

Flat 19

Earnings - £167,305

Wins – 24

Year 2019

            Earnings - £229,624

            Wins - 28

           



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ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (29th August – 4th September)

Introduction

Faith in our sales tactics was proven correct once again, this time it was Molaaheth bringing the goodies home. Prior to this we collected another three horses from Worcestershire after summering well in the pastures and on the home front I cannot believe the way in which De Little Engine continues to display his belief that he owns West Buckland!

Round Up of runners

Thursday began with two runners split at Ffos Las and Fontwell. Panatos ran first but wasn’t helped by a stop go pace, he got headed early on and so fell victim to this since he prefers a marathon and not a sprint. Diligent on the other hand was running over fences at Fontwell over a similar distance to last week. I was quietly confident, yet unlike last week he was carrying a much higher weight. He jumped off well and got a nice lead from a keen pace, but probably got brought into the race too early on down the back. The finish comprised of him and one other and Diligent was given first run three out, but the winner challenged two out, winning by 4 ½ l. 

Saturday was a more local affair at Newton Abbot. Spring Steel took to the Chase course in good fashion, looming in fourth turning in, unfortunately his run petered and he had to settle for fifth.

Monday was a great day, be it Molaheeth’s day. He was our first runner at Chepstow and boy was it a good start. We elected to cover him up behind early in a bid to settle him, this worked well and he came wide round the field to win by a handsome ½ l. This was his yard debut after being purchased for £8,000 at the start of August and I believe we have only scratched the surface with him. Over to Brighton and De Little Engine was bidding to add another win to his collection. He jumped off well but maybe should’ve have fought harder for the inner upfront, yet he plugged on gaining on up the rise and was cruelly denied second by yet another nose. Back at Chepstow Waqt was next and was running off a much more favourable than his last run at Salisbury. He jumped off well but was allowed to tuck back into the field in the closing stages and had to settle for fifth, hopefully a drop will follow. Gendarme was the last to run, but he couldn’t close the day in the fashion it opened, finishing fourth.

We sent out three runners Wednesday, Diamond Reflection running first at Bath. He dwelt out of the stalls and failed to take a hold of the race. Onto Chelmsford and Roque was running in first time cheek pieces which appeared to compliment him. He led early and was laid up with four furlongs out, but was just flat footed in the final furlong yet was only beaten 3 ¼ l. Last week’s winner Thahab Ifraj closed the week at Chelmsford and I was hopeful, but also aware of the change in surface from Southwell. Southwell is a much slower surface compared to Chelmsford and so has the potential to catch horses out. He settled well for the duration but turning in found nothing, my guess being that the run came too soon rather than the ground change.

Horse Ownership

As you have seen we have placed Artois into an affordable ownership scheme for just £57 a share. He was brought at the August Doncaster Sales, but was not the only purchase since we also brought Molaaheth from the same sale. Consequently this makes me quietly confident for the future of Artois.

Artois has started just four times on the flat and is yet to run over an obstacle. He won on only his second start under James Doyle and has currently been allocated a mark of 80.

I am terrifically excited for the future of Artois since he has schooled tremendously in our shiny new schooling ring, with positive feedback from Adam Wedge already.

Shares are available and Christmas is only around the corner for stockings …

Statistical Summary

Jumps 19/20

Earnings - £24,736

Wins - 3

Flat 19

Earnings - £165,905

Wins – 24

Year 2019

 Earnings - £227,524

 Wins - 28

           



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ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (22nd – 28th August)

Introduction

Thahab Ifraj made his return a memorable one after a small break, winning at Southwell in emphatic style. Around the yard our two juvenile hurdling prospects, Artois and Kapitaliste, are coming along nicely and I can safely say that autumn is well on the way. Looking further afield, politicians are yet again looking to interfere in the interests of racing, this time looking into the use of the whip.

Round Up of runners

I can safely say that Thursday has officially worn me out, running no less than seven horses. 

The day started well at Stratford, courtesy of Chasing Headlights finishing third in the opening contest. He got a little light in himself after his last run back in June and so I eased off him, freshening him up for a return which ultimately worked. He finished third of twelve, tracking the leaders for most of the way yet he just couldn’t quite find a way past the leader. Diamond Reflection ran 30 minutes later, but pulled up disappointingly. Polo the Mumm closed our day at Stratford, running well enough to finish sixth of fourteen.

Later at Chepstow Chiavari was the first of three to run. She ran well for most of the way, but weakened in the closing stages. Reshaan took keenly to the soft ground at Chepstow, it being his first time on such a surface. He was running back over seven furlongs and on the soft ground revelled, travelling at the front for most of the contest, before being one paced in the final furlong and getting beaten 4 ¾ l to finish sixth of fourteen. Tsundoku was the third to run and suffered from a slow start. She regained the impetus, but annoyingly was taken wide for her challenge and causing her to weaken two furlongs out, finishing fifth of eleven.

Diligent was our top performer of the day, running out a strong second at Fontwell over fences. His lower weight certainly helped and he was prominent for the majority of the race, battling bravely on the run in to finish 3 ¾ l second.

Salisbury was the destination of our sole Friday runner in Waqt. He jumped off well and settled in readily, despite defying his top weight allocation. In the end the weight was too much and he faded in the final furlong, the winner was carrying 26 pounds less than Waqt and ultimately told the story.

Hannah Welch was to ride for us again two days later at Goodwood continuing her partnership with the Olympian, French Mix. Frenchie got an easy lead and settled in early, an error by a junior apprentice cost her momentum on the bend and disrupted her rhythm. She just did too much and her run petered close to home and was robbed of third in the dying strides. Hopefully she will get a drop and can go to Catterick in a fortnight.

Monday saw us split three runners between Southwell and Lingfield. Southwell seems the best place to begin for it was the destination of our winner Thahab Ifraj. This was his fourth win for us in two years, his honours split evenly between hurdles and flat successes. Thahab like Chasing ran on the same day at Newton Abbot in June and benefitted from a small break. He jumped off to settle behind, cruising through and watching himself on the big screen idling past his floundering counterparts. Hopefully the handicapper will be kind. Hollander ran later at Southwell, but failed to impress. Meanwhile at Chepstow Jupiter ran smashingly to finish third of twelve, benefitting from a seven pound claim. He has run impressively as of late, finishing in the top three on four of his last five starts and a win.

Sadly Lingfield and Catterick failed to provide and wins or places for the yard. 

Political Interference

I was saddened to read that racing was the target for political gain by politicians this week.

Members of the Labour Party have deemed that the use of the whip in racing is in need of review, for what appears to be an attempt to gain political support from Animal Welfare Groups. I am glad to see multiple MP’s denounce this action, these MP’s stating that they were satisfied with the way that racing is conducting the use of the whip.

The party argues that the use of the whip in racing is unnecessary and cruel, I disagree. I love horses, my staff love horses and many others in racing love horses too, so why would we willingly hurt animals we cherish?

The whip can be used to motivate, correct and guide a horse in a race. A whip is simply a rubber handle with a length of pad attached, it should also be noted that the RSPCA helped to design the current whip. I have found over the years that horses benefit to differentiating degrees with use of the whip, and so by carrying a whip it does not mean a jockey has to use it. 

We as a sport are governed by an independent panel in the BHA already, and so I don’t see the need for another panel, especially since a strict one is already in place. In 2011 a major review was conducted into racing, limiting use of the whip to seven and eight strokes respectively. Consequently if the maximum number of strokes is exceeded by any jockeys, they can be heavily fined and suspended for numerous days.

Therefore racing has strict policies in place already for the use of the whip, and so no change is required. There will always be those opposed to racing and we mustn’t give into their demands as they will never be satisfied with any change.

However, I admire the work that ITV are doing in racing to educate the wider public about our sport and think that the racing industry can do much more to show the public that the whip is simply a length of pad, and we love our horses.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 19/20

Earnings - £24,736

Wins - 3

Flat 19

Earnings - £160,466

Wins – 23

Year 2019

 Earnings - £220,857

 Wins - 27

            



Thahab

Thahab

ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (15th – 21st August)

Introduction

Eleven runners and a busy day at the sales, meant plenty of work this week at West Buckland. I was pleased with our two purchases at Ascot and have just done the declarations for Thursday, with no less than seven set to go to post.

Round Up of runners

De Little Engine kicked off the week in promising fashion, running out a strong third. He began by tracking the leaders and stayed there for much of the race. Coming off the final bend he went to squeeze through the inside of the leader, but briefly got held up, before finally breaking through to finish a gallant third. The seven pound claim helped his run to beat Swissal ¾ length, who beat us a narrow nose at Brighton recently.

Over to Chepstow, both War Drums and Emneshing were aiming for success. Emneshing missed the break and it cost him the race. War Drums was running first time after a break and he ran with promise to leave us confident for the future.

Saturday soon came round and Cry Wolf was back after a break and running with some additional syndicate members. Newbury was a sell out and Hannah Welch was booked to take the ride. It was his first run on the soft and he didn’t take to it well, backing off. He should come on for the run and hopefully come down a couple of pounds.

A little closer to home on the M4, Panatos and Roque were taking their chances at Bath. Panatos went first and on this occasion was ridden amongst the field. He was sent to chase the leader, but faltered in the last furlong to lose second towards the line and finish fourth of seven. Roque took the lead from the get go and settled well, to be ridden in the dying furlongs and headed by a fast trio in the last furlong to finish fourth of nine. We were hoping for more but two places wasn’t a terrible effort.

Tuesday saw a return to Brighton, with hopes of Born To Reason bidding to follow up on his last course success. He had an awful draw, but got lucky with his break and so was able to track the leader. The front runners slowed the pace on the penultimate bend, when we really needed an even pace, and so got tapped for toe on the downhill but fought back on the rise to be fourth. Ramblow also ran at Brighton later on, leading from the get go. She ran over her favoured mile and looked to have the run of the race, but she got swamped two out to finish seventh of eight in a blanket finish.

Kafeel also ran on Tuesday, finishing eighth of fourteen. He led from early on and turning in had the field sending distress flares. He weakened in the final furlong and he may have just needed the run, but he loves Kempton and am sure a return is on the cards.

Wednesday felt a little flat with a couple of lower efforts. Gendarme had an off day at Bath whilst at Worcester we just stepped Spring Steel up too much in grade and so our roll of the dice filed to pay off.   

Ascot Sales

Cromwell (GB) 2016 Bl.G.  BY Swiss Spirit (GB) EX Brooksby (GB)

  • A 3yo by Swift Spirit and a horse I am buzzing to get on the track. You may remember his rain breaking at Brighton when Ramblow was third, and arguably he was running a great race. I believe he is on a basement mark and would make an instant purchase for someone to stay in the yard.

Shellebeau (IRE) 2016 B.F.  BY War Command (USA) EX Attracted To You (IRE)

  • A 3yo by War Command, currently occupies a mark of 65 on the flat. She was five lengths fifth off an opening mark of 74 and so would appear to be on a prominent mark. She only ran last four weeks ago, but is in need of some tummy tightening. Shellebeau is for sale to stay in the yard.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 19/20

Earnings - £22,612

Wins - 3

Flat 19

Earnings - £155,571

Wins - 23

Year 2019

            Earnings - £213,838

            Wins - 26

            



Team photo at Bath

Team photo at Bath