Hope you’ve all had a good week.
Hit The Bid Update After Doncaster
We went to Doncater last Friday full of expectation ahead of Hit The Bid’s run in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes. I’ve made no secret of the very high regard in which I hold the horse. A couple of factors compromised his chances on Friday but we returned home very much looking forward to the future with him. The race was run into a particularly strong headwind and from his wide draw he was caught without any cover. Although he wasn’t enjoying racing into that headwind he is such a genuine horse he was still going through with it and Leigh felt he was on the winner as they raced inside the last 2 furlongs. Looking a serious contender as they raced toward the furlong pole he was effectively stopped in his tracks by hitting a false patch of ground. It was one of those unfortunate incidents that can happen in a race but in this case it was at very much the wrong time. Leigh eased him when he realised what had happened and he returned home quite muscle sore from that incident. Nothing that he hasn’t recovered from in the meantime but the combination of events were enough to scupper his chances on the day.
As I’ve said in the past, he’s still a big weak horse who has it all ahead of him next season. Getting a Group 3 win in the bag at the Curragh on his previous run was a real bonus given how weak he is currently. We’ll put him away now and allow him to mature into that big frame over the winter. He’s an incredibly exciting horse to look forward to next year with.
Review of Irish Champions Weekend
There are inevitably bumps along the road in horse racing and that was also the case for one of our horses- to-follow, Harzand, who returned lame after the Champion Stakes (Group 1) at Leopardstown on Saturday. There’s no doubting the ability he showed in winning the Epsom and Irish Derby’s this season. It just wasn’t his day on Saturday but I’m sure there’s more to come. Another of our horses-to-follow, Churchill, fared a lot better in the National Stakes (Group 1) at Curragh on Sunday. A most impressive winner on the day, he’s an exciting prospect for next season. He looks a deserved ante post favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas. A lot of water will pass under the bridge before then of course, but assuming he comes out of the winter well I’d imagine he’ll be a warm order on Guineas Day. His closest challenger in the market is stablemate Caravaggio who has looked exceptional over shorter distances this season and if that’s the route he pursues next season Churchill’s Guineas case will only be strengthened.
Another horse for whom things didn’t work out last weekend was English St Leger (Group1) favourite Idaho. Like our own horse he seemed to hit a false patch of ground in the home straight but in Idaho’s case it resulted in his rider Seamie Heffernan being unseated. A further blow was dealt to favourite backers in the Irish St Leger (Group 1) at the Curragh on Sunday where we had 1/7 fav Order of St George turned over by 14/1 chance Wicklow Brave. Champions weekend certainly proved to be testing for the punters, with 8 of the winners going off at double figure odds including two at 25/1 and one at 50/1. It was nonetheless a fantastic weekend of top quality racing and has been a great addition to the Irish racing calendar.
Curragh Thoroughbred Trail Visitors
We had a most enjoyable morning on Sunday when our Curragh Thoroughbred Trail guests visited our yard. Hopefully, they all enjoyed our parade of horses and gained some valuable insights into the workings of the stable and our prospects going forward. The team put on a great show for our guests and the horses were all looking a picture and in great form. My sister Susan, who had been up baking till 4.30am put on an impressive spread of food and drinks and everyone certainly went home well fed and watered! Many thanks to David Betts for the excellent photos he took on the day.
Tattersalls (Ireland) Yearling Sales Next Week
Yearling sales season gets into full swing next week with 4 days at Tattersalls (Ireland) starting on Tuesday. With approximately 1,000 horses catalogued there have certainly been many long days and nights recently in preparation. It has proven to be a most progressive sale in recent years, not least this season during which we’ve had a myriad of graduates from the sale winning at all levels including 4 classic winners. It’s a sale I very much enjoy attending. This is the sale at which I bought Mister Trader last year for what subsequently proved to be a real bargain at €15,000. More of those will do nicely! We currently have some places remaining in our yearling syndicates and with shares available from €2,000 to €25,000 there are options to suit all budgets. The syndicates involve a one-off upfront payment so you can sit back and enjoy the journey in the knowledge that there’ll be no further outlays during the following 12 months. By all means please get in touch via our website (www.darrenbunyanracing.com) if you’d like further details on this. I very much see horse racing as both a results and an entertainment business and we’ll leave no stone unturned to ensure it’s another rewarding and fun year ahead for our members.
This Weekend’s Racing
One race I’ll have a keen eye on this weekend is the Mill Reef Stakes (Group 2) at Newbury. It was one of the races we considered for Hit The Bid and we’ll most likely encounter some of Saturday’s contenders with him next season. One concern I had about waiting for this race was the potential for the ground to turn soft. Downpours overnight have changed the ground to Heavy this morning and therefore we’d have had a wasted journey since we wouldn’t have run on anything worse than Good ground. The likely hot favourite Mokarris has been declared a non runner today due to the change in going. I’d have fancied him to beat tomorrow’s opposition. I think the race has been thrown wide open and on that heavy going races tend to be less predictable. So I think a watching brief is best advised in the circumstances.
Overall I think the racing looks quite tricky this weekend. At this stage of the season many horses are tired after a hard year and lose their form. The heavy ground adds to the uncertainty. If I was forced to have a bet for a bit of fun I’d take a chance on Dartmouth in the 1.45pm at Newbury on Saturday. He’s not been over raced this season and won at Royal Ascot with plenty of ease in the ground. Robin of Navan will love the underfoot conditions and won’t be without a chance either.
Have a great weekend. Best of luck!