Hope you’ve all had a good week.
During these summer months it’s even more pleasurable than usual to be out on the Curragh first thing in the mornings.
Busy Times And Our Horses are Going in a Good Direction
It’s been another busy week for us at New Rathbride Stables. We have the full string riding out now after their summer break and all are coming forward as I want. The next couple of months will be very interesting as they step up in their work and show us what they can do on the racecourse. I was also particularly pleased that the yard got an excellent report from the Irish Equine Centre who I request to come every few months and do a comprehensive testing of the yard to ensure the horses are living in the healthiest of environments. Our yard manager Peter and the team are doing a fantastic job in that area. Getting a clean run with your horses is always one of the biggest challenges. Of course there are always things that can go wrong since we’re dealing with equine athletes but we work hard to ensure we put the odds in our favour wherever we can.
We’ve been receiving a steady flow of catalogues for the yearling sales, which kick off later this month, so that’s going to mean many long nights of study for me during the coming weeks as we search for the stars of the future! Many thanks to those who have been enquiring about our yearling syndicates and we’ll be posting further updates about that on our website (www.darrenbunyanracing.com) during the coming weeks. I think we have options there to suit all budgets. At this year’s sales we’ll hope to pick up more bargain buys like Mister Trader who I bought for €15k at Tattersalls Ireland last September. It was great to see the outstanding Caravaggio win his Group 1 in the most impressive fashion at the Curragh last weekend. As many people have said, Mister Trader is probably the horse who has given him most to think about so far when they pulled clear of the field in the Marble Hill Stakes earlier in the season. I’m very much looking forward to an exciting autumn campaign with Mister Trader, possibly starting at the Curragh next weekend.
It was disappointing to hear this week that Paul Carberry has been forced to retire due to injury. He has always been one of my favourire national hunt jockeys. He’s totally fearless, an amazing horseman and a jockey of pure class. Racing will be all the worse without his presence in the saddle. They don’t make many like him. We wish him all the best for his retirement.
Isn’t this the flat season?
This week I planned on having 2 runners on the flat but both were balloted out. Indeed, a 2yo I’ve been trying to get a run into has now been on the wrong side of the ballot list on 3 consecutive occasions. The balance of flat versus national hunt races in the official progamme during the height of the flat season looks wrong to me. For example, the offical programme of races for July had 56% flat races versus 44% national hunt. This comes on the back of HRI’s figures for the first half of 2016 showing that even during that less busy part of the flat season entries for flat races were up 11.8% while entries for national hunt races were down 2.7%. While there have been some efforts to increase the number of flat races it’s simply not enough particularly given (a) the incorrect balance of races from which we started and (b) the stronger growth we’re seeing in flat race entries. Of course it’s hugely important to give the summer jumpers their chance but we also need to ensure that the flat horses have more opportunities to get a run than at present. The race planners need to take a close look at this and get the required changes in place.
This Weekend’s Racing
With the horse racing looking quite tricky this weekend it would be tempting to switch to the human athletes now that the Olympics is in full swing! I was at the Olympic Stadium in London for Super Saturday in 2012 when Mo Farah had his stunning victory in the 10,000m. Wave after wave of deafening roars swept around the cauldron that the stadium became on that sensational summer evening of the most stunning sport. Seb Coe summed up the feelings of many present when he described it as “the greatest day of sport I’ve ever seen”. It was an amazing occasion and so inspirational when you realise that although the long road to every gold medal involves so much blood, sweat and tears the days of glory make it all worthwhile. The odds for the most likely looking winners this time around are very short but I’ll certainly look forward to seeing the likes of the Mobot Man and Bolt going for gold. Hopefully, we’ll also see some of our Irish Olympians figure among the medals. Best of luck to them all.
While there are some good quality black type races in the UK on Saturday the bookies don’t seem to be offering much value on them so I’ll pass them over in favour of a speculative each way (4 places) on Nuno Tristan in the Great St Wilfrid Stakes Handicap at current odds of 10/1. Run at picturesque Ripon which is known as the Garden Racecourse this is traditionally one of the most competitive summer handicaps. Nuno Tristan looked a little unlucky in running on his last two runs, in similarly competitive handicaps, having previously won impressively on his second start back after a break. His trainer Richard Fahey won two of the last three runnings and is always a man to take notice of at this venue.
Have a great weekend. Best of Luck!