Dunlop gets on his bike as he readies Robin Of Navan for Arc weekend
John Gosden may still not have committed Cracksman to a trip to Chantilly for next week's Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but Harry Dunlop will be heading over with stable star Robin Of Navan and also plans to visit the track on two wheels next summer.
Dunlop has taken up cycling this year and is in the process of forming a syndicate with people he has met from his new hobby – a venture that will include a bike ride to Chantilly in 2018.
"I'm having a horseracing/cycling syndicate, so the owners are cyclists," Dunlop explained. "Cycling is something I took up at the start of the year and I really enjoy it.
"I did a big cycle ride this summer for the first time ever, going down to the Somme, which was 220 miles. We went round the battlefields and I met a number of people who I thought would enjoy becoming involved in racing or having a share in a horse. They are new to racing and on that ride I thought it was a good way to get people into the sport.
"I've leased a yearling filly by Dutch Art out of Lottie Dod and we are selling shares and they are selling really well. She walks well and looks a real, racey, early two-year-old type.
"The idea of the syndicate is when they come to see the horse, we'll have a ride afterwards for about 25 miles and the second ride will be down to Watership Down Stud near Kingsclere, which is where the filly was born and bred.
"Then next summer we'll ride to Chantilly, go racing and go out on the gallops with Criquette Head-Maarek."
A more immediate trip to the French venue is planned for Robin Of Navan, who gave the Lambourn trainer his biggest success in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud two years ago and finished fourth to Ribchester in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin last time out.
"The reason we love Chantilly is Robin won a Group 3 there in June and was fourth in a Group 1 the other day," Dunlop added.
"We're going to go back for the Prix Dollar or Daniel Wildenstein next weekend – more than likely it will be the Dollar, but we'll see what the opposition is – and Cristian Demuro, who has ridden him all year, will be on board again.
"I was really pleased with his run in the Moulin. For a minute we thought we had Ribchester at it, but he ran a super race as he did injure himself on his previous start. He's come out of it really well and we're looking forward to running him."
Shares in Dunlop's syndicate cost £1,000 and there are 15 of the 30 left. More information is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
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