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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Darren Bunyan

Darren BunyanDarren Bunyan
© Photo Healy Racing

Hit The Bid’s victory in Dubai last week was absolutely fantastic and I am hopeful that the horse can build on that and develop into a Group 1 performer this year.

His huge strengths are his early speed and the ground that he covers and he murders horses with those attributes. He has never made the running before so it was a bit of a chance to take and as it turned out he got a little bit lonely in front but he has that much ability it was a chance worth taking with him.

Last Thursday’s win was brilliant because on his first run in Dubai he ran into Ertijaal who is just a legend of a horse and one of the fastest sprinters in the world. I did leave a bit on him to work with because that race was in early January and while there was plenty of prize money, it was still only a handicap and I firmly believe Hit The Bid is going to be a Group 1 horse this year so we didn’t overdo him.

Hit The Bid’s next race in Dubai is on Thursday week in a Group 2 and then all being well he won’t run again until Dubai World Cup night. There will be improvement to come from last week as well because I didn't have him nailed on for that either and he is just a horse with a lot of raw ability. This is the fruition of a plan we thought of early last year. Dubai is somewhere I’ve always had it in my head to go to with a horse because of the scale of the racing but I don't believe in travelling for a day out, you need to be competitive and this is the first horse I thought was going to be competitive down there so thankfully it is working out that way too.

The horse left the yard on December 27 and I left on St Stephen’s Day with my wife, Gillian, and she has stayed there to look after him and she has done an amazing job with him and I’d be lost if it wasn’t for her down there. When I went down first I wanted to check out the gallops and different things as it was our first horse there so I wanted to make sure that we wouldn't be doing too much or too little with him so once I saw the lie of the land I left a programme for Gillian and the horse has thrived down there.

I went down for his first run and again for last week and the plan will be to go over Monday again before his next run. I usually leave Ireland on the Monday and see him cantering the Tuesday and Wednesday before the race and I leave on Friday lunch-time then to come back to the horses in the yard. I just think it is as important to see the horse the day after the race to see what way they’ve come out of the race.

We’ve been planning this a long time and everything with this horse has been geared around this year with him. By right, he only turned to be a four-year-old the day before he won last week so his first run when he ran a horse like Ertijaal to half a length with a bit of improvement to play with, it just shows the level he is.

The plan would be to give him two more runs in Dubai and then he’ll come back here for his campaign then and the plan would be to start him off in the King’s Stand, then go for the Nunthorpe and the Flying Five back in the Curragh then would be his main targets then and I was at the Melbourne Cup last November and I’ve looked into Australia for him for next year as there is a very good sprint programme there.

It’s just super to have a horse like him to fly the flag for us and everyone is very excited. My brother, Brian, heads up the syndicate that own him, and we try to concentrate totally on quality rather than quantity. You won’t see us going to the races with a box-load every time there is a meeting on and if they are middle of the road handicappers or less, I don't keep them. With that in mind, I think we have a very big year ahead of us.

We’ve a lot of quality this year and by far the strongest team we've ever had. We’ve rolled over some of the three-year-olds that were unraced last year and bought with this year in mind. We’ve got a very strong team of three-year-olds and so far we’ve got the nicest young team of two-year-olds we ever bought so hopefully we look to have a quantity of quality!

Add in Hit The Bid and Mister Trader and I think we’ve a strong team if we though we don't have a big number. I’d take any winner but it’s big winners I’m chasing.

Mister Trader is a very good sprinter too who was just unfortunate to meet with a few setbacks last year and they've just been time consuming. He wants yielding or yielding to soft ground and I think he’s got a big future too.

This is my fifth season out on my own and I’ll be disappointed if I don't get a Group 1 winner this year. That sounds like a big target but the bigger the better as far as I’m concerned.

The same day I bought Hit The Bid for 40,000GNS I bought Beat The Bank for 30,000GNS and he’s gone on to be a Group 1 horse for Andrew Balding and I also bought Low Latency for 30,000GNS as well and we sold him to Hong Kong after he won at Fairyhouse so that wasn’t a bad days work!

For now the focus is on Dubai and returning to Meyan next week. They’ve been so accommodating to us since we went down there, especially Fergal Cooper in the Meydan quarantine yard and Aimee Grieves in the office, they couldn't do more for you and that’s a massive help when you are finding your feet. We’ve left a bit to work on with Hit The Bid and hopefully there’s plenty of horses in the yard along with him that will give us a few big days out this year. That’s what we are after.

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