Tote Inside Inside Track – Darren Bunyan – 6th May 2016


madame thunder win naas

Now the Punchestown Festival has finished, Irish racing focuses its full attention on the flat season and Tote are delighted to be able to bring you a unique insight into two of Ireland’s fastest rising trainers. Here is the first blog from Darren Bunyan, who sprung onto the headlines when his Mister Trader ran away with the opening two-year-old maiden of the flat season.

Welcome to the first edition of my blog. During the coming weeks I hope we can provide you with interesting insights on the exciting journey of a young racing stable.

I’ve worked in racing for about 30 years, having left school relatively early to follow my dreams. The most influential person on me during that time was undoubtedly my late Dad, Arthur. He had been in racing himself for 60 years, working in the full spectrum of roles from groom to trainer. He was the most amazing horseman I’ve ever met and taught me so much. I gained further invaluable experience working with the likes of Dermot Weld, John Oxx and Jonjo O’Neill, and was assistant trainer to Ken Condon before taking out my own training licence in recent years.

I’m based at New Rathbride stables on the Curragh. I have an excellent team and we’re very ambitious in what we want to achieve. I see racing as both a results and an entertainment business. I love to get the owners involved and take them on a journey with their horses. They can visit the stables any time and we also believe technology provides a great way to keep them informed, with regular updates, photos, videos etc via email, on our website, and also directly to their phones on our dedicated APPs. Last year we only had 6 horses and this year we’ll have about 15, so we’re moving in the right direction.

Horse racing can be so tough at times, especially for a small yard with relatively little ammunition but we’re very much up for the challenge! I could have more horses currently but I prefer to be honest with people and tell them not to waste money on horses who can’t win for them. The horses in our yard are treated like royals and if I could find a hotel like this I wouldn’t want to leave it!

Grey Danube (Leigh Roche) win the 6f Handicap Dundalk Photo: Patrick McCann 19.12.2014

Some of our highlights so far (all of which I bought myself for the amount indicated)

– winning 7 races with Grey Danube (£3,000),

– landing a major gamble (33/1 to 7/2 against a 1/2 Fav) on debut with Enchanteresse (€5,000),

– my first 2yo runner last year Madame Thunder (€17,000) winning on debut

– winning the Cheltenham Festival Charity race with Age of Glory ridden by my brother Brian (£7,000)

– winning with Dazzle The Duel (€500).

– winning the first race of the Irish flat racing season this year at the Curragh with the 2yo Mister Trader (€15,000).

Mister Trader (Leigh Roche) wins the tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden by 4 1/4 lengths. The Curragh 20th March 2016. Photo: Patrick McCann

That win at the Curragh in the curtain raiser to the Irish season this year was particularly special. I grew up regularly hearing stories from my Dad about how (50 years or more ago!) all the talk around the Curragh from before Christmas would be about who had a 2yo for the 1st race of the season. He had many tales of car loads of lads leaving the Curragh to travel to Baldoyle on 17th March for the race, or in later years to the Phoenix Park when the race moved to there. I know he would have been particularly thrilled to see Mister Trader win it for us. In a link with that time Mister Trader has been wearing my Dad’s exercise sheet each morning on the gallops and it obviously hasn’t done him any harm!

I’m currently bringing each horse forward in a way which works best for the individual and I’m looking forward to an exciting summer during which we’ll work hard to continue our progress. Mister Trader’s next outing will be in the Marble Hill Stakes (Listed) at the Curragh on 21st May. He has improved massively since winning by 4 1/2 lengths on his debut. Our next runner is likely to be the 2yo Hit The Bid making his debut at Leopardstown this Sunday. A lovely horse by Exceed and Excel who is just about ready to get started and will improve significantly from the run. Best of luck! Darren

You can read Darren’s thoughts on Friday’s throughout the flat season on the Tote Blog.

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