Robin of Navan & Christina Dunlop Dec 2017
Harry Dunlop Racing had a phenomenal international year. From a team of under 40 horses:
- Group 1 Runner Up
- Group 2 Winner
- Group 2 Placed
- Group 3 Winner
- Listed Placed
Stalwart stable star ROBIN OF NAVAN 4yo travelled by Road, Sea and Air starting with a trip to France. He opened his account with an eye catching 4th behind future Prix de Arc de Triomph runner up Cloth of Stars in the Prix d’Harcourt Group 2 at Chantilly, beaten just 2 lengths. Next stop was the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan where he came agonisingly close to recording a second Group 1 victory when narrowly beaten by Mekhtaal in a pulsating finish with a record time. He quickly made amends by winning the Prix de Conde Group 3 in impressive style and another fast time. He then stepped up in trip and ran in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud Group1 but halfway through the race incurred a muscular injury in his back. After some intense rehab he returned to sparkling form to finish 4th in the Prix de Moulin Group 1 over a mile behind Ribchester. A very impressive performance. Arc weekend beckoned, and he ran in the Prix Dollar Group 2 over 1m2f where he finished 5th in a blanket finish. With race options running out he ran at Newmarket in the Darley Club Group 3 where he finished 2nd to Monarchs Glen beaten only a length giving the winner almost a stone in weight. Then an invitation came from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to compete in their richest race the Hong Kong Cup over 1m2f for £1.2million. This was his first time flying. He ran a fantastic race finishing just out of the prizemoney and perhaps if the jockey had known him better he would have been considerably closer. He ran a total of 8 times either Group 3, Group 2 or Group 1 level and finished on a rating of 115.
Yard favourite EARLY MORNING 5yo showed he had lost none of his racing enthusiasm when returning to the track after a life-threatening illness. He was 2nd on his debut at Haydock beaten by a horse carrying a stone less weight. During the summer when the ground should have been to his liking the conditions kept changing which was most frustrating. In the Autumn he regained his winning ways with a tear jerking performance at Lingfield Park. He then travelled to France and finished the year with a fantastic 3rd in a prestigious Listed race giving his dam Summer’s Eve a wonderful pedigree update.
Camelot had his first season of 2yo runners and this saw his son FIGHTING IRISH 2yo reach the very top for his owners Daniel MacAuliffe and Anoj Don. This tough colt made his debut in May, ran 6 times, winning 3 races and placed twice. He won two class 4 races Salisbury and Yarmouth. The easy option would have been to find a small conditions race as his next target but that isn’t Harry’s style. Instead he travelled to France to contest the Criterium de Maisons Laffitte Group 2, one of France’s biggest 2yo races over 6f. Much to everyone’s delight he ran the race of his life to win with proven Group winner Nebo in 2nd. What a way to finish his 2yo career!
Another 2yo colt to catch the eye was KNIGHT TO BEHOLD 2yo. This beautiful son of Sea the Stars so nearly caused one of the biggest betting upsets in the Haynes Hanson & Clark race at Newbury when just a flare of a nostril separated him and the winner on the line in his debut race. He quickly made amends when winning impressively at Newmarket.
FLIGHT OF FANTASY 3yo also added to the winners board when scoring impressively at Leicester. She was most unluckily not to have another three wins to her name during the season when losing out in photo finishes. She had 6 places to add to her tally. JUST AN IDEA 3yo made sure he was a winner at both 2yo and 3yo when winning at Lingfield Park he was also placed 3 times. RUM SWIZZLE 5yo continued to be the apple of her owner’s eyes winning once and being placed 3 times during the year. She is such a character and anyone riding her out needs to be ready for her exuberance bucks! Susan Abbott and her racing partnership owners had lots of fun with their horse VIKING HOARD 3yo who returned to Salisbury to the scene of his 2yo victory to win again at 3 years old. They also managed to sell him well at the sales at the end of the season. JACKFINBAR 2yo colt began to fulfil his promise when winning at the third attempt at Wolverhampton in a tough maiden. He also ran well in his second race at Chantilly in the Arqana Sales race on Arc weekend. This had a prize pot of euros250,000 and eligible for any horse bought the Arqana October Sale. A wonderful weekend was had by everyone.
Many others ran with much credit just missing out on a top podium finish. This included MISS TIGER LILY 6yo who had returned to the yard after a stint hurdling with Jamie Snowden. She ran 6 races and was placed 5 times. MY ILLUSIONIST 3yo was placed 5 times. Brothers STORM ROCK & COASTAL CYCLONE amassed multiple placings between them. Others to finish on the podium included ROCK ON DANDY, CARCAS, ASSANILKA, CHILLALA, LIGHTSOME, DUTCH STRANGER, ARACHINA & STAR OF VENDOME.
From a small team of 36 runners some incredible results have been achieved. None of the above could be achieved without the fantastic team here at Windsor House Stables. Led by Head Lad, Phil Wright the staff have worked tirelessly throughout the year in all sorts of weather conditions to ensure every horse has the chance to realise its’ potential. A huge thank you also goes to all our amazing owners whose patience and belief in Harry and his team have lead to some amazing results. 2018 looks an exciting year and who knows what might happen but one thing we do know is that Harry Dunlop Racing will continue to strive to achieve the best results possible for both owner and horse.
Wishing you a very Happy, Healthy and a “Winning” New Year!