Denton Hall News
- 07-Jul-2022: Latest News from Denton Hall Stables the home of Michael Dods Racing
- 05-Jul-2022: Wor Willie strides to easy success under Paul Mulrennan at Pontefract
- 01-Jul-2022: Second career win for Alethiometer under Connor Beasley at Doncaster
- 21-Jun-2022: Proud Archi makes it five course and distance wins at Beverley
- 10-Jun-2022: York double for the yard as Northern Express defies topweight under Paul Mulrennan
- 10-Jun-2022: Gale Force Maya makes it her 10th career win at York
- 09-Jun-2022: Arch Moon bounces back to form with easy win under Connor Beasley at Haydock
- 08-Jun-2022: Azure Blue impresses under Paul Mulrennan at Hamilton
Dods excited about 2022 as Brunch heads back to Doncaster
FRESH from another successful season in 2021, Michael Dods has plenty to look forward to as the new turf flat season approaches.
The County Durham trainer, who had 56 winners last year, is pleased with the mix of seasoned campaigners and new blood at Denton Hall.
“A lot of the older horses that had been around a long time left us last year and they’ve been replaced with a nice bunch of two-year-olds, some sharp and some more backward, but it’s a nice balance,” says Michael.
“We don’t really set a target but it’s always nice to get over the 50 mark so, hopefully, we can at least match what we did last year. We’re trying to raise the quality of the horses and get more people involved.”
Always keen to enhance the facilities at Denton Hall, near Darlington, Michael has installed a speedometer on his beautiful uphill gallop for the new season, following the introduction of a salt box last year.
“The speedo is just something new to help the riders, so they know they’re going the right pace, while the salt box is good for horses’ breathing,” explains Michael. “It’s important that we don't stand still and keep looking forward.”
The stable will be going into battle at Doncaster’s traditional curtain-raiser meeting with the ultra-consistent Brunch (main picture).
The Harbour Watch gelding has won five times in 15 outings and started his 2021 campaign with an excellent second to John Gosden’s Haqeeqy in the Unibet Lincoln Handicap before going on to score a listed success at Pontefract in July.
The five-year-old is again entered in the Lincoln on March 26 but will also have the option of a listed race on the same card and doesn’t want it too firm.
“He starts this season 4lbs higher in the handicap and that won’t be easy in the Lincoln, so the listed race might be better, but we’ll discuss it with the owners nearer the time,” says Michael.
“We’re really happy with him but we never push them for their first run and there’s a long season ahead, so he’ll come on for whichever race he goes for.”
After a nice piece of work on Friday, rider Andrew Glass reported: “He feels like a million dollars – he always makes me smile as soon as I get on him.”
Owner Fiona Denniff, who was at Denton Hall to see her charge, added: “This horse doesn’t know how to run a bad race and we’re really looking forward to the season. It would be nice to get a bit more black type and maybe try a Group 3.”
Commanche Falls was the stable star last season, winning first time out at Ayr and going on to win three more, including the Unibet Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood.
The five-year-old Lethal Force gelding will follow a similar route this season by competing in the big six-furlong handicaps.
“He seems to go on any ground and a fast run race with something to aim at in a big handicap suits him, though it will be difficult to surpass what he did last year. Listed races, with smaller fields, tend to be more tactical, whereas he likes to come through horses so the handicaps with big fields will probably be the preference.”
Dakota Gold, in the same ownership as Commanche Falls, had a disappointing 2021 following a stellar 2020 but Michael is hopeful he’ll bounce back off a more favourable handicap mark as an eight-year-old.
He started last season off 111 but has dropped 10lbs for the 2022 campaign, so could again be competitive in handicaps if he gets the soft ground he needs.
“We were never completely happy with him last season. He had a splint that delayed him getting going and then the ground was too quick. He’s a year older but he’s come down the handicap and seems in great form.”
Blackrod, who won two on the bounce at Newmarket and York last year, is another with the potential to improve.
“He did extremely well last year, and he’s wintered well. He needs decent ground and we hope he’ll win a nice handicap with the possibility of stepping up into black type.”
Northern Express was a busy horse last season, winning two of his nine outings. “He wants a fast-run race on a turning track and he should do well again this year,” says Michael.
Challet was even busier, winning three out of 13 starts, twice at York and once at Ripon. “He seems to like a turning track over seven furlongs or a mile and should continue where he left off.”
Star sprinter Que Amoro has left for stud but Azure Blue is in the same ownership and impressed as a two-year-old last season, winning cosily under Paul Mulrennan at Newcastle in November.
“She’s a nice big filly who’s wintered well and I could see her having a nice season.”
Sir Titus, a winner at Redcar and Haydock as a three-year-old last year, moved to Denton Hall from Bryan Smart in December. By Dandy Man, he’s an interesting addition to the yard and Michael says: “He’s a nice horse who’ll hopefully do well in sprints.”
The admirable Gale Force Maya did the yard proud last season, winning three races and being placed five times in 12 runs.
“She had a great season last year and she’s another who’s wintered well. She needs fast ground but she should have another good campaign.”
Danielsflyer ran well on his 2022 debut on the all-weather at Newcastle at the start of the March. “He’s a grand horse over seven furlongs to a mile and should have a good season again.”
Jawwaal scored back-to-back victories at Doncaster in the summer and needs fast ground over five furlongs. “He takes a race or two to come to hand, but he’ll hopefully do well again.”
Havagomecca won three last season, including a race at Ascot, and has wintered well. “She wants a bit of juice but she looks well and should have another good season.”
Vaccine made a good impression when winning by five lengths over seven furlongs on his second start at Ayr as a two-year-old. “He’s wintered well, likes cut in the ground, and I could see him getting further this year.”
Motawaazy was a real flag-bearer for the yard last season, winning five times and finishing second three times. “He’s a grand horse who gave his owners a lot of fun and although he’s higher in the handicap, there are veterans races he gets in.”
Chiellini, an unraced three-year-old by Aclaim, "looks like he could be a nice horse".
Out of the newcomers, Michael nominates a Bungle Inthejungle colt called Zuffolo, and a Ulysses colt called Vortigan as sharp, early types.
The yard will again be staging an open day to coincide with National Racehorse Week between September 10 and 18 but a date hasn't been confirmed yet.
Meanwhile, there are still opportunities to get involved at Denton Hall this season. The Denton Hall Racing Club, run by Chloe Dods, is a cost-effective way to get into the sport and has three nice horses running in its colours this season: Pendleton, Langholm, and Stallone. To find out more, go to www.michaeldodsracing.co.uk/dods-racing-club
There is also the Denton Hall Racing Syndicate, run by Ian Davison. Blowing Wind and Diamond Haze have been joined by a two-year-old filly called Capofan – by Gutaifan out of Capomento – for this season. To find out more, go to: www.michaeldodsracing.co.uk/horse-racing-syndicates