Friday 11 September 2020

Frankel Watch 2020: John Leeper (Dunlop)

It's interesting to consider the origin of horse names. 

Today, I noted a Frankel offspring racing in the 4:15 Doncaster, trained by Ed Dunlop. 

You may have noticed it too - John Leeper

This bay colt born on the 28th April, is a son of Frankel, out of a very impressive mare Snow Fairy who was similarly owned and trained. She was a truly amazing racehorse who raced 21 times and achieved 8 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds. In fact, she won no less than 6 Group 1 or Grade 1 races in a four-year career. Very few horses win top-class races across the globe and come close to total earnings of almost £4M. 

Snow Fairy was bred by Anamoine Ltd, who are no stranger to gifted horses. You may have noticed one of Ed Dunlops better horses is Virgin Snow who is similarly owned and trained and going full stream ahead. 

Her mother is Snow Fairy, although sired by Gleneagles. 

It's funny, but I had my eye on Virgin Snow making her debut last year in July because I was pretty confident she would be the best juvenile in the stable. 

That's my thought about John Leeper. I know the stable rate this colt, which is hardly surprising because if this colt went through the sales ring would fetch a huge sum of money. 

Anyway, I was intrigued to find out who is or was John Leeper. 

I typed the name into Google, and who should pop up?

John Dunlop, the late father of Ed Dunlop, and exceptional trainer John Leeper Dunlop, who sadly passed away on 8th July 2018. 

John Dunlop OBE was based in Arundel, Sussex, and trained 74 Group 1 race victories, including 10 Classics with over 3,000 winners in total. In addition, he was British Flat Champion Trainer in 1995. 

Noted winners include:
  • Shirley Heights (1978), Erhaab (1994) Epsom Derby 
  • Habibti (1983) Nunthorpe Stakes, July Cup,  Haydock Sprint Cup, Kings Stand Cup (1984), 
  • Salsabil (1990) 1000 Guineas, Oaks, 
  • Awaasif  (1982), Circus Plume (1984), Yorkshire Oaks 
Ed Dunlop has been in good form with his two-year-olds this season with Lenny's Spirit a recent winner at York.

So will John Leeper be winning on debut?

In general, the stable debutantes struggle to win on their racecourse bow although I am very interested in seeing how this son of Frankel goes today. 

Unless backed to 9/2 and less SP, I would consider this colt to run a very sound race but be primed to win on his second start. 

However, we are talking about a Frankel sired colt from a mare who won millions in prize money and achieved an official rating of 124. 

When your mother and father won 16 Group 1 races between them, anything is possible. 

Good luck to connections.

Guest post: Jason Coote

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