Dunlop camp relieved after stable star escapes Alps accident
Robin Of Navan's fruitful trip to Italy, where he pocketed more than £40,000 for finishing second in a Group 1 in Rome on Sunday, almost ended in disaster when the lorry carrying him home to Lambourn was involved in an accident near the Mont Blanc tunnel in the Alps on Tuesday.
Christina Dunlop, wife of the three-year-old's trainer Harry, and groom Colum Haynes were in the Lambourn Racehorse Transport vehicle when it was hit by a car. There were no injuries and Robin Of Navan, who won the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud last year, was reported to be fine.
Dunlop, speaking as she arrived back in Lambourn on Wednesday, praised driver Deano Tovey for remaining calm.
She said: "We were coming up to the Mont Blanc Tunnel in the Alps and out of nowhere a little white Hyundai with three little old ladies in dived across our front.
"My life flashed before my eyes. Deano had the sense to hold us on a steady course while the car went right across and then down the side of the lorry; you could hear all the ripping sounds before we came to a halt about 500 yards further on.
"Thankfully Deano's actions stopped there being a disastrous outcome. Extraordinarily the car was boxed in front and back, yet the women walked out of it.
"It was very scary but the horse didn't move an inch. He'd just been second in a Group 1 in pretty horrible conditions and was on day six of his travels but he just carried on eating his food like nothing had happened.
"We checked him over and he seemed fine and was calm among the chaos."
Robin Of Navan has had nine of his 12 starts abroad and Dunlop added: "I always travel him and have done every race. Will it put me off? No, but it does make you feel safer travelling in a nice, big lorry abroad.
"Harry flew over in the morning of the race with our youngest son William and flew out straight after – he had a lovely, easy time – their trip took 12 hours. Mine took eight days!
"On Saturday we had a blank day after we cantered the horses so went into Rome with the Hannon team, who also had a runner, and went to the Vatican; maybe there was a bit of divine help."
Robin Of Navan will have a break but is likely to be on his travels again in 2017, notably France, where he qualifies for race premiums.