Dunlop wins Doncaster Cup with Times Up
Report: Doncaster, Friday
Stobart Doncaster Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 2) 2m2f, 3yo+
JOHN DUNLOP'S time as a trainer may be drawing to a close, having on Thursday announced his retirement at the end of the current season, but the aptly named Times Up proved he still knows how to train a good horse, romping to a second successive Group 2 victory.
"It couldn't be more appropriate," was the evaluation of the man himself, who at 73 has decided to call time on one of the sport's most enduringly successful training careers.
The six-year-old won the Lonsdale Cup at the York Ebor meeting on his last start, beating High Jinx by two and a quarter lengths, and the James Fanshawe-trained and Graham Lee ridden four-year-old again faired best of the rest, getting to within a neck of his adversary this time.
It was a race run at a crawl, and long distance specialist Eddie Ahern capitalised, taking closer order and waiting well into the home straight to deliver his mount's impressive turn of foot.
It was a fine ride from the tactically astute Ahern, who has enjoyed many of his biggest successes over marathon trips. Settling his mount close to the pace in mid division, Ahern took a lead from Aaim To Prosper - who cut out the slow pace.
John Dunlop will retire at the end of the current Flat seasonPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Nothing much changed until the runners entered the home straight, where Colour Vision injected some pace over four furlongs out. As the race unfolded Times Up looked to be travelling well and under Ahern he broke through and established a lead before the fast-finishing High Jinx began to close.
John Dunlop said: "He's a bonny horse. He won the November Handicap here and started to look like he would be a good horse in time. He's proved it. He was so good at York and it was great to come and win again this time.
"He was always going well throughout. It was very nice. He could run again. He always preferred going the other way round so Ascot might not suit him. He actually ran very well at Longchamp last year so we could think about that."
Never Can Tell, winner of last year's Cesarewitch, was put down after suffering hind leg injuries.