Time's up for the inimitable Dunlop


Town Moor, Doncaster

How very fitting that the horse charged with seeking what could prove the last of so many big prizes for John Dunlop, here this afternoon, should be named Times Up. For the veteran Arundel trainer, who has supervised the careers of 10 British Classic winners, yesterday announced that he is to retire at the end of the season.

The news did not exactly come as a shock. At 73, Dunlop has endured one of the quietest of his 46 seasons. But he has long been guaranteed the lasting respect of the Turf community, and not just as the trainer of such luminous talents as Shirley Heights, Salsabil and Habibti.

For one thing, his work for charity has been recognised by an MBE; and he has also passed on his lore to two sons who have carved out their own reputations as trainers, in Ed and Harry. Perhaps his greatest service to the British racing industry, however, was to introduce its charms to the Maktoum family. Dunlop saddled Sheikh Mohammed's first ever winner, Hatta, at Brighton in June 1977, and Sheikh Hamdan has been a mainstay of his stable throughout.

Dunlop broke the news to his staff yesterday morning, having begun the process of informing his patrons overnight. "It's very much fresh off the printing machine," he said, preferring to defer broader reflection for the time being. "There are several reasons behind the decision. I now have much reduced stable numbers, and it is now less viable than it once was. My wife has also been ill for quite a while, as well, so that has been a factor – and I can also now live in the shadow of my very successful sons."

On the eve of the Ladbrokes St Leger, it is timely to record that the last of his Classic winners was Millenary in the 2000 running. Silver Patriarch (1997) and Moon Madness (1986) also won the Leger, while his three 1,000 Guineas winners included the brilliant Salsabil in 1990. She followed up in the Oaks, then beat the colts in the Irish Derby. Dunlop owed his other Epsom Classics to Circus Plume in the 1984 Oaks, and Shirley Heights and Erhaab in the 1978 and 1994 Derby respectively. Only the 2,000 Guineas eluded him, among the domestic Classics.

Immaculate in his trilby, and perennially drawing on a cigarette, Dunlop has preserved a passing era on the Turf. In 2001 he nearly lost his life to a ruptured aorta, but would return with undiminished enthusiasm – starting every day with a swim in an unheated pool, and pronouncing that he would only contemplate retirement if he went "broke or mad" (with characteristic wryness, he promptly added: "Either of which is quite possible").

As for Times Up, he lines up for the Stobart Doncaster Cup after contributing to his stable's recent return to form at York last month. He has been followed here, however, by Saddler's Rock – plainly not himself at York, and on previous form the clear class act in the present crop of stayers.

Certify, already among the favourites for the 2013 Qipco 1,000 Guineas, meanwhile sets the standard in the Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes. But the Group races today may conceivably be surpassed in interest by a conditions race for juveniles – won by 13 lengths, two years ago, by Frankel. The champion's owner-breeder, Khalid Abdullah, is once again represented by a colt who impressed hugely in a Newmarket maiden, Ashdan.

Frankel's trainer and jockey, Sir Henry Cecil and Tom Queally, combined yesterday to win the prestigious DFS Park Hill Stakes over the Leger course, with Wild Coco. Cecil had hoped to aim this filly at last year's Leger, but she proved too immature. She is really blossoming now, however, and swept past Estimate after the royal filly had gained first run. Wild Coco is now likely to join Frankel on Qipco Champions' Day at Ascot next month, where there is also a valuable prize for fillies and mares.

Eight rivals, meanwhile, stood their ground against Camelot at the final declaration stage for the Leger. William Buick, John Gosden's stable jockey, has opted for Thought Worthy, leaving Michelangelo to Frankie Dettori.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's nap

Ashdan (3.30 Doncaster) Form of his very stylish debut success is proving strong and this well-bred colt, representing top connections, can confirm that he is going places fast.

Next best

Borug (4.15 Sandown) Previously a distrusted character but looked unlucky not to score on his first start since castration and looks well treated if building on that.

Where the money's going

Thought Worthy is 8-1 from 10-1 with the sponsors for the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster tomorrow, with Camelot eased to 2-5 from 1-3.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform