Ashforth's Angles: Humour to lift Dunnett's spirits


Christine Dunnett: her 57 runners this years have yielded only one win

  PICTURE: John Grossick (  

 By David Ashforth 6:00PM 19 OCT 2016 

YOU may have heard the expression, ‘it’s a funny old game’. It certainly is. How Marco Botti thinks he’s going to win a race with a pizza beats me but Speciale Di Giorno’s being served up in a nursery at Chelmsford (5.45).

The filly’s run flat as a – well, a pizza – so far but she’s got a new topping on Thursday – Andrea Atzeni. That’s enough of that.

If there’s anyone at Chelmsford with a half-decent horse to spare, can you please send it to Christine Dunnett. The Norfolk trainer has endured what is known as a ‘testing’ year, with 57 runners yielding only one winner, Give Us A Belle at Wolverhampton in February.

As the £1,000 Mrs Danvers’ trail of triumphs has demonstrated, very cheap horses sometimes win valuable races. Unfortunately, very cheap horses more often struggle to win any races and two of Dunnett’s three runners at Chelmsford cost very little indeed.

Samara Belle, a three-year-old debutant (8.15) cost £1,200 as a two-year-old while Fearless Poppy (9.15) was bought for 800 guineas after finishing last for Henry Spiller on the three-year-old’s debut in April.

In five subsequent appearances, Fearless Poppy has beaten only two horses and never started at less than 40-1. Hope rests with Humour, who cost 9,000 guineas as a three-year-old, won twice last year, including over course and distance and, having lost a dozen times since, is now eligible for a 0-55 handicap (8.45). The five-year-old is not an obvious winner but would certainly be a welcome one.

Dreams can come true

Things can improve, as the case of Dan Skelton’s runner in the opening novice hurdle at Carlisle (2.10) shows.

After accumulating a trio of form letters reading PFU in Irish point-to-points, buying a horse called Aintree My Dream seemed over-optimistic. Yet having finally won a point-to-point and joined Skelton’s thriving yard, Aintree My Dream promptly won a bumper at Warwick and may yet fulfil that dream. Obviously, it’s unlikely. I’ve got a Lottery Dream and that hasn’t been fulfilled.

Landmarque (3.20) moved in the opposite direction to Aintree My Dream, winning a bumper at Catterick in 2014 then emigrating to Ireland where, at the sixth attempt, the seven-year-old won a point-to-point at Lisronagh only to be disqualified because the jockey, Ms M O’Sullivan, “failed to draw the correct weight”.

The correct weight was 12st 1lb but what weight did Landmarque carry? This is just one of many questions to which I do not know the answer, a bit like the ludicrously difficult ones posed in The Times Daily Quiz by a clever clogs called Olav Bjortomt.

Returning to hurdles, Landarque is supposed to be carrying 11st 7lb. He takes on Barbara Butterworth’s nice grey Snowed In who has probably spent the late summer out in a field eating daisies as, I hope, has another grey, Little Glenshee.

It would be nice if the handicapper was nice to Little Glenshee, who is now 10, but I don’t suppose he will be. Anyway, it’s nice to see them back. Good luck this season.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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