ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (31st – 6th January)

Introduction

Sadly no winners this week from the select few runners we managed to send out, despite the abandonment of numerous fixtures. However, we are really excited to announce 8 new additions to the yard from last week’s sales, with some of those now holding their first entries.

Round Up of runners

Only 4 runners this week, mainly due to the abandonment of so many fixtures, but still it was good to get out again.

We sent 3 runners to Taunton on Monday, with Broke Away and Westerner Ocean completing in 2 hot novice hurdles and Winged Express returning to the track with almost 2 years off. Winged Express went very well for the first 2/3 of the race but quickly dropped off approaching the end of the second third. He has come back sound and with the extra sticky ground have put the drop off down to that, his next run will tell us a lot.

Tsundoku was a tad disappointing at Kempton, but came home safe enough. She is still above her last winning mark and so this is probably the reason why.

Newmarket Sales Report

Tom and I went to the Newmarket sales last week intent on expanding the yard and bringing some fresh produce in. We were really happy with the horses we were able to get hold of and look forward to putting the first of the entries in this weekend, as nearly all are racing fit. Below is a list of the 8 purchases, their breeding and former connections:

Waqt (IRE) B.G. by Acclamation (GB) x Needles And Pins (IRE)

M. Tregoning

Hollander (GB) Ch.G. by Dutch Art (GB) x Thrill (GB)

W. Muir

Claudine (IRE) B.F. by Zoffany (IRE) x Hamalka (IRE)

H. Candy

Gendarme (IRE) B.G. by Lawman (FR) x Gravitation (GB)

R. Hannon

The British Lion (IRE) B.G. by Power (GB) x Mala Mala (IRE)

Kingsley Park 

Rogue (GB) B.G. by Epaulette (AUS) x Miskin Diamond (IRE)

R. Hannon      

Mr Minerals (GB) Ch.G. by Poet's Voice (GB) x River Song (USA)

R. Hughes      

The Eagle's Nest (IRE) Ch.G. by Lope de Vega (IRE) x Follow My Lead (GB)

Rae Guest Racing Ltd.

News in Racing

As many of you will soon be coming to be made aware of, all of Thursday’s racing fixtures have been abandoned, including Tulsa Jack’s at Ffos Las. This is because of an outbreak of Equine Influenza in a racing yard in Britain.

The yard in which we believe the outbreak to have occurred in, have had no contact with our horses over the last 2 weeks.  Of the horses we brought last week, none are believed to have come from infected yards and are together in their own wing which we are of course monitoring as a precaution.

The flu is not fatal and media speculation on the festival being cancelled is only being churned up to sell newspapers, so read with a pinch of salt!

What we do know is this:

  • There have been confirmed 2 infected horses from the same yard running at Ludlow and Ayr on Wednesday
  • All Thursday’s fixtures as a precautionary measure have been abandoned
  • Wolverhampton have cancelled their fixture Saturday for their own reasons
  • The BHA have said the flu is not fatal but affects the sporting performance of the horse if they run when unwell and vaccinated (humans are unaffected but can be carriers)

On the 25th January we were notified by the BHA of their being an influenza in horses in general. In response to this we have been stepping up the use of virkon and disinfecting as much as we can, whilst being extra vigilant of our biosecurity.

Our horses have been running well, exceptionally so on the flat and so we believe our procedures are working. The BHA is currently investigating the source of the flu and when this has been confirmed racing as I am led to believe by the BHA should return to normal. In the meantime there is likely to be disruption of the next few days and I would advise you not to read into any sources such as the Daily Mail, but rather the official BHA website.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 18/19

Earnings - £74,524

Wins - 7

Top 4 finishes – 39/115 (33.91%)

Flat 19

Earnings - £31,068

Wins – 5

Top 4 finishes – 11/22 (50%)

Total 2019

            Earnings - £33,244

            Wins - 5

            Top 4 finishes – 13/35 (37.14%)

ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (24th– 30th January)

 

Introduction

French Mix becomes our third horse to win in 2019, picking up our 4th and 5th wins for the season. This also brought up a 100 professionally trained winners from West Buckland and pushed the yard up into 18thplace on Tuesday in the Flat Trainers title. Between these two convincing wins, Blackwater Bramble made it 3/3 in point to points on Saturday meaning that we now have the joint leading point to point horse in the country in our yard!

Round Up of runners

An excelling performance on the flat this week, after a small break in our flat declarations, seeing 7 of our 8 runners finish in the top 4.

French Mix recorded 2 victories this week, the first coming at Lingfield. She broke really well and settled into the race near the front. All was fine till 3 furlongs from home the leader in front started to back track which she did well to avoid but 2 furlongs out the next leader did the same leaving French Mix. Being the brave mare she, she battered a way through the slow traffic in front of her to get some space to put 3 tidy lengths between her and the field on the line. The second leg of the double came over 1 mile 6, a marathon for French Mix. Luckily Hannah Welch was up to the task and gave her a peach of a ride, breaking out the stalls first to put the handbrake on the field around the bend effectively turning the race into a 1 mile 3 affair. French turned into home second, slipping up the inside of the leader to secure the double. This was French Mix’s 5th winner for us in just under a year, winning on both turf and all weather and I am ecstatic with the way she has developed in that time.

Punkawallah ran a far better race on Monday finishing third behind French Mix, securing the Welch’s a near front row lockout. He ran very well, just being done for toe down the back but staying on strongly at the end. This was the longest trip he has run over, upped by around half a mile on his usual running, and he dealt with the demand impressively. This was also Tamby Welch’s first ride, having had well over a 100 pony racing rides and dozens of winners, and he was very tidy riding the finish maturely and hopefully hungry for more come the future.

Diamond Reflection was unlucky on Friday at Lingfield, running into a well handicapped horse Collate. He tracked the leaders taking it up 2 furlongs from home before finally being nabbed by the winner with a 100 yards to go. The handicapper has recently been kind to this horse but I’d love to get another winner into him while this lasts. He has been a great little fun horse, collecting 2 wins and 8 places in the 13 months that we have had him.

Cry Wolf ran yet another consistent race, finishing 3rd beaten 1 ¾ lengths in the class 4 affair. We felt that he should have been second had the interference not occurred on the run in with the winner, which the stewards supported in taking action against the winning jockey, though this doesn’t rectify the £1,000 difference between second and third. This was his 11th run for the yard, only finishing outside the first 4 once and has been remarkably consistent throughout his time with us.

Ventura Blues made her first start for us and her new owner Leslie Clune. She appears to be a fantastic claim, nearly covering and making a profit her first race in a class 2 at Wolverhampton. She ran so well and deserved more, being held up in the rear, making her move 2 furlongs out and just getting penned in at the vital closing stages, consigning her to fourth place and missing out by 1 ¾ lengths on the £17,000 prize. She has another entry at Lingfield on Friday which we plan to take and hopefully can build upon this great start.

Compton Abbey was the last of the flat runners finishing a creditable 3rd. All this despite carrying top weight, a lengthy time in the stalls, slow out the gate, wide on the bend and wide out at the finish. Everything humanly possible went against her and yet she still picked up the third comfortably. As a result, that meant this was a win that got away from her and was heart wrenching to watch but leaves a positive mood knowing that based on this, there are good things soon to come.

And finally but by no means least, Blackwater Bramble made it 3/3 in point to points at Larkhill on Saturday. He was a little cold over his first few jumps but soon got into a nice rhythm. He took up the lead from a mile out, but John sat very patiently on him letting him coast home with Indian Chance right next to him pushing for an opportunity. Blackwater jumped the last spring healed and quickened away to put 4 lengths between him and second, another 20 lengths to the third. He won with ease and so hopefully can carry this form through the rest of the season. John also rode former under rules graduate How About It, in the first of the four point to point classic races on Sunday over 3m6. He ran a blinder not quite getting up on the line to be beaten a short head, though quite a result for a classic race.

News in Racing

Unfortunately as is the case for this time of year, the cold does get the better of some cards and on Wednesday claimed Leicester and Plumpton. Lingfield was abandoned Tuesday and I do not hold much hope for Wincanton or Fakenham Thursday.

Like me you are probably sick to death hearing about drones. Recently they have been a menace at both Leicester and Haydock, their danger to the racing needs no explaining and are a nuisance on race days. The Civil Aviation Authority have said they cannot interfere as it is not a crime to fly a drone in an uncontrolled airspace around racecourses. However, if the drone is flown for profit it must have a CAA licence plus if these images are being used for punting then I am guessing that the punters involved are not paying their fair share towards image right etc. Hopefully common sense can soon prevail and these drones banned from racecourses.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 18/19

Earnings - £74,524

Wins - 7

Top 4 finishes – 39/112 (34.82%)

Flat 19

Earnings - £31,068

Wins – 5

Top 4 finishes – 11/21 (52.38%)

Total 2019

            Earnings - £33,244

            Wins - 5

            Top 4 finishes – 13/31 (41.94%)

ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (17th-23rd January)

Introduction

A much quieter week this time round with just 4 runners over fences. Envole Toi backed up his recent win with a solid performance to finish 3rd at Wincanton, whilst Black Narcissus and Tulsa Jack made their seasonal debuts and Sweet Obsession made her full debut. Shinghari will be the next flat runner for the yard on Thursday after no flat representatives this time round and Tom and I are off to Doncaster sales to see if we can bring some horses back with us.

Round Up of runners

Envole Toi backed up the form of his previous win with a solid 3rd at Wincanton. The winner Elusive Belle was brought recently for £180,000 and was second on its’ last run in a listed bumper, whilst the second Thistle Do Nicely fetched £80,000 also. There was no shame in getting beaten by these two horses, if anything it shows how well Envole Toi has done and he comfortably beat the horses behind. He led most of the way and was only headed on the turn in, he is a great horse to have in the yard and if he can keep these performances up there is surely more success to come in the future.

Black Narcissus ran a pleasing seasonal reappearance at Exeter, jumping off in the rear and making pleasing progress midway but ultimately wasn’t quite able to sustain the challenge on the run in. It was great to finally get her out this season and with some proper rain should relish the heavy ground that must be coming at some point.

Tulsa Jack ran in a blazing hot hunter chase at Warwick on Monday, finishing midfield at the finish. He is another that would prefer it slightly softer, but showed a lot to like about him in the race and fills me with confidence for this season. He jumped very well whilst travelling at a high speed and if he can run to this level consistently in the season then winning should not be a problem for him when the 140/150 horses have more races to spread themselves out over.

News in Racing

The BHA have backed down over their proposed changes to the shoeing rule which was due to come into force at the start of February and has now been put back 6 months pending further research. It is good to see the BHA responding to the opinions of trainers, and hopefully the matter can now be fully resolved with both sides cooperation.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 18/19

Earnings - £74,074

Wins - 7

Top 4 finishes – 39/111 (35.14%)

Flat 19

Earnings - £19,228

Wins – 3

Top 4 finishes – 4/13 (30.77%)

Total 2019

            Earnings - £20,954

            Wins - 3

            Top 4 finishes – 6/22 (27.27%)

ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (10th-16th January)

 

Introduction

Azari!

The only word that I need to utter this week is that boy. His turn around in fortunes has been a welcome sight and something about the surface at Southwell seems to have just clicked with him. As a result of some good runs on the flat I had a look on the trainer’s standings Monday morning and was a gasped to see that we were indeed 16th. I am fully aware that we are only in week 3 of the contest, but to be in the position we are now compared to previous years is such a joy and really shows the strides forward we are making here at West Buckland. Long may it continue!

Round Up of runners

So Azari. Well Azari won this and Azari won that is the way it goes, and he is now 3 from 3 at Southwell. The first leg of his double this week was completed very early on, where he was allowed to get to the front and dictate the race at his leisure. This probably flattered him somewhat as we caught the others napping and so the 7 length victory was probably a bit much. The second leg of the double was done in similar fashion though this time though Andrew Mullen did his best to sabotage our race, and as a result gave us a race. It was a close run affair and under the six pound penalty a determined Azari would not be beat. On this effort I hope the handicapper sees that the first result was exaggerated a bit and that in a true run race like the second a mark close to 80 would be fair enough. None the less two very welcome victories and congratulations to the partnership on their first treble.

Chorus of Lies and Thahab Ifraj both ran in the same race at Chelmsford later on Sunday with both having a great shout in the final 2 furlongs. The final furlong proved just 1 too many for Chorus slipping down to 7th, whilst Thahab Ifraj made a game effort to try and chase down the winner ultimately costing him second close to the line. Thahab is being more than a game horse at the moment, finishing in the first 4 on his last 4 runs and not forgetting his win at Wincanton.

Diamond Reflection couldn’t quite follow up on his heroics last week, but he still put in a mega effort. He led to headed 4 furlongs out and was with the leader 3 out but couldn’t quite sustain the challenge and got cruelly swamped at the end to finish 6th. He continues to put in a massive effort and will surely be rewarded again if fate is kind to us.

Foxy Lass made a very pleasing debut over fences at Lingfield on Tuesday. She has the ability to get herself worked up sometimes and this cost her half a dozen lengths at the start. She jumped well throughout and it seems her talents have been held up when racing on the flat. She stayed onto finish 6th and with a little drop could go well come the future.

Jockey Racing structure explained

For those of you that are newer to racing than others you will notice that there are several names given to jockeys who ride racing. There are 3 types of Jockey: professional, Conditional (Jumps) /Apprentice (flat), Amateur.

Claiming jockeys on the flat are called apprentices and claim:

  • 7lb until they have won 20 races
  • 5lb until they have won 50 races
  • 3lb until they have won 95 races

Whilst jump jockeys who claim are called conditionals (amateur riders when riding against professionals claim the same as conditionals) and claim:

  • 7lb until they have won 20 races
  • 5lb until they have won 40 races
  • 3lb until they have won 75 races
  • A Conditional can claim an additional 3lb when riding for their employing Trainer in certain races, if they have ridden less than 5 winners.

Amateur jump jockeys when in races confined to amateurs claim:

  • 7lb until they have won 5 races
  • 5lb until they have won 10 races
  • 3lb until they have won 20 races

Upon a jockey riding their 95th or 75th winner in their field they will graduate to become a professional where they no longer have a claim. It’s rather a lot but hopefully this should help you understand.

News in Racing

There has been a loud debate this week, regarding the use of hind shoes in races. In flat racing all feet must be shod already unless a special certificate is required, in jumps racing there is no such rule but soon there will be.

The issue is so loud because the change in rules has been brought in for safety reasons so as to limit the effects of lipping when in fact a shoe can actually be a very dangerous thing. It can cut a horse’s tendon or indeed a jockey and so some trainers choose not to shoe their horse’s hind legs, such as the Easterby’s. Many trainers are angry because they feel that the BHA has crossed a line into the trainer’s prerogative. If someone such as Mick Easterby who has years of experience behind them feels his horses run better without and does so on safety grounds then why should his experience be discredited.

I myself choose to run with all feet shod in most cases and so this rule does not impact upon me hugely, that said this is a delicate issue and hopefully a solution can be found.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 18/19

Earnings - £73,406

Wins - 7

Top 4 finishes – 38/107 (35.51%)

Flat 19

Earnings - £19,228

Wins – 3

Top 4 finishes – 4/13 (30.77%)

Total 2019

            Earnings - £20,286

            Wins - 3

            Top 4 finishes – 5/18 (27.78%)