Blue Bunting, winner of the 2011 Irish Oaks and Newmarket’s Qipco 1000 Guineas, has sustained a leg injury whilst training to compete on the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan on March 31 and has been retired by her owner Sheikh Mohammed with immediate effect, writes Elliot Slater.
Expected to once again take high rank in the middle-distance pecking order in Europe during the 2012 campaign, a brief statement passed on the disappointing news that the tough as teak daughter of Dynaformer will not grace the racecourse again and will head off to stud straight away. People looking for a Bwin review will be shocked.
A winner of five of her eight career starts, Blue Bunting won in listed company as a juvenile but made a sensational start to her three-year-old career when given a brilliant ride by Frankie Dettori to appear under the stands rail inside the final furlong of the 1000 Guineas and mug Aidan O’Brien’s Together close home, the 16/1 shot having been expected to struggle to have the pace for the one mile contest with connections publicly stating that she would be their main hope for the Oaks. Those placing a VC bet need to bear this in mind.
Fourth to Dancing Rain in the Investec Oaks at Epsom last June in a race where everything that could go wrong did go wrong for her, the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained filly bounced back with a vengeance when once again proving as tough as old boots in beating Jim Bolger’s admirable Banimpire by a short-head to land the Irish Oaks on her next start.
She followed up with a third Group 1 success of the season when beating older horses at her first attempt, proving three-quarters-of-a-length too good for Henry Cecil’s Vita Nova in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York in August, before failing to see out the extended trip on what turned out to be final outing of her career when sixth to Masked Marvel in the St Leger at Doncaster in September.