This year saw some phenomenal results both in England & Europe from a team of under 40 horses. Some of the highlights included:
1st Classic success - German 2,000 Guineas 3rd
Group 2 Winner
Group 3 Winner
Listed Race Winner
Multiple Horses placed at Group 2, 3 and Listed level
FIGHTING IRISH (3yo colt) 3rd in the German 2,000gs Group 2 just losing out on the line for 2nd. He was also placed at Group 3 level at Ascot and ran a huge race in the Commonwealth Cup Group 1 at Royal Ascot to finish 8/20 just 2 lengths off the winner. A tough son of Camelot who was a Group 2 winner at 2yrs. He stays in training for 2019.
JACKFINBAR (3yo colt) progressed throughout the year fulfilling his early promised when stepped up in distance and won impressively at Sandown before heading to France where he won the Prix de Lutece Group 3 at Longchamp, the 3yo stayers French St Leger trial, a race not won by a British trainer for more than 16yrs. He hopefully has all the makings to be a serious Cup horse for 2019.
KNIGHT TO BEHOLD (3yo colt) lit up the Derby betting when running away from subsequent St Leger winner Kew Gardens in the Lingfield Derby Trail Listed. The Derby wasn’t run to suit his racing style, but he flew the flag high and proud for Lambourn. He then ran a much more promising race in the Irish. After a rethink by the home team he travelled to France where he upset the French by winning the historic and very valuable Arc trial race, The Prix Guillaume D’Ornano Group 2 at Deauville, beating the first three home in the French Derby. He still has some maturing to do and it will be fascinating to watch him progress in 2019.
ROBIN OF NAVAN (5yo horse) the most consistent horse at the very highest level and again didn’t disappoint. He was placed 2nd La Coupe Group3 Maison Laffitte, 4th best365 Group 2 Sandown, 4th Earl of Sefton Group 3, and 3rd Ben Marshall Stakes Listed. For much of the year the ground conditions were not in his favour, but all his jockeys commented on how brave he was and how they loved riding him as he never gave up wanting to win. His prizemoney pot stands at over 700,000euros inc. his French premiums not a bad return on a breeze up costing 47,000euros! He will now race for the Haven’t a Pot & Richard Foden partnership for the 2019 season.
Other winners included LOOKINGFORCARL (3yo) a slow maturing sort who will come into his own at 4yrs; PACT OF STEEL (3yo) was a winner and will race in Ireland for his connections in 2019; PIRATE KING (3yo) winner at Doncaster met with a minor injury at Ascot and has wintered well; GOLDEN BELLO (2yo) was an impressive winner at Newmarket over 6f; JUST AN IDEA (4yo) the smallest horse in the yard yet won again this time at Chepstow. At the end of the season it is always sad to see horses retire or sold but most gratifying when they sell well for their owners such as SPACE TALK and GOLDEN IMAGE both winning fillies.
Late in the season the yard lost one of its favourite horses, FLIGHT OF FANTASY a multiple winner earlier in the year. When she arrived as a yearling, she was already nearly 17hh with wonderful gangly legs and big ears. Wearing her white fluffy noseband, she developed her own unique determined front running style which either meant she won in spectacular style or nowhere. It was a very sad time for her breeder and owner and for everyone in the yard.
2018 also saw the retirement of the legendary grey EARLY MORNING signing off with another Listed place. This horse captured everyone’s heart with his passion to win and no one could forget the excitement and joy of him winning the Shergar Cup at Ascot under the comeback ride of Hayley Turner.
Harry Dunlop Racing were delighted to announce in 2018 the signing of the new yard sponsor Class 1 Personnel, providers of temporary and permanent staff to the hospitality, construction, driving & industrial sectors enabling all owners to reclaim the VAT from their racing expenses.
This year could be described as a roller coaster of emotions with the death of Harry’s father John Dunlop in July. Great comfort was gained from the enormous post bag full of wonderful evocative letters of stories of past celebrations and trips down memory lane. His racing and charitable legacy runs on through his two sons and grandchildren with Harry completing the Prudential Ride 100mile Bike ride raising over £10,000 for Pancreatic Cancer and both Tom and William taking part in pony races with John being on hand to witness William’s first pony race win ever at Ascot.
2019 looks full of promise with plenty of horses looking to fulfil their potential after being given plenty of time to mature by their patient owners. The proven older horses have wintered well and the majority are now all back cantering in readiness for a Spring campaign.
Finally, a huge thank you to everyone one of our owners. None of this would be have been achieved without the enormous support we have received during the year.
In Harry’s own words – Onward and Upwards into 2019!