ALEX DUNN RACING WEEKLY REPORT (22nd – 28th August)
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.
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.
Earnings - £24,736
Wins - 3
Earnings - £160,466
Wins – 23
Earnings - £220,857
Wins - 27