RARE BOB (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Bob Back – Cut Ahead (Kalaglow)
11-10-06 Form: 3/274333339/1d431414/15333P/0381PU/345053B0-643
Owner: D A Syndicate Trainer: Dessie Hughes IRE Breeder: Don Hadden
I’m grateful to Racenews for supplying factfiles for every runner in the John Smith’s Grand National. I reformat these and publish as I get them, with the first batch coming out 2 weeks before the big race on April 6th. By the eve of the National all factfiles will be published here. You can find others by clicking on the factfiles tag at the foot of this post
Rare Bob’s family has already experienced success at the Grand National meeting as his high-class half-brother Tiutchev scored the last of 12 victories in the Martell Cognac Cup (now the Betfred Bowl) in 2004. Tiutchev, by Soviet Star, was bred for and started his career on the Flat before graduating to jumps, but Rare Bob, by top jump sire Bob Back and born on May 16, 2002,, always had a jumping career planned.
When he was sold at auction as a foal €37,000 foal in 2001, Tiutchev had already won an Arkle Trophy and an Ascot Chase; by the time he made €125,000 as a three-year-old, his older brother had added another Grade One and had been placed in both the William Hill King George VI Chase and the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. It took Rare Bob 14 runs to get off the mark, a sequence of losses that included five thirds in a row and a disqualification for a wayward course after beating Trafford Lad a short-head in a novice chase at Punchestown in October, 2008.
His first victory also came at Punchestown three months later, when he beat the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National runner-up Oscar Time, and he returned there for the April Festival in 2009 to account for Gone To Lunch and Joncol in the Grade One Champion Novice Chase. His sole success in 22 runs since came at Leopardstown in January last year. Rare Bob has paid four previous visits to Aintree, two of them over the Grand National fences – he was fifth on heavy ground in the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase in December, 2011, and was brought down at the fifth fence in last year’s John Smith’s Grand National.
In a typical preparation for this year’s race, Rare Bob made one start over hurdles before the unveiling of the weights, coming home sixth at Thurles on January 17, and has since posted two pleasing efforts over fences. He kept on to finish fourth behind fellow Aintree contenders Prince De Beauchene and Seabass in the Grade Two Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on February 23 and made late headway to take third for a second successive year in the Leinster National at Naas on March 10.
Race Record: Starts: 40; Wins: 4; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 14; Win & Place Prize Money: £191,267
The D A Syndicate
‘D A’ stands for ‘Dessie’s Army’, a fond tribute to trainer Dessie Hughes who trains for the seven-strong group of friends who make up the syndicate. They come from Counties Carlow, Wickford and Kildare and have business interests in printing, packaging, building development and estate agency among others – the group includes Lar Byrne, who owned the dual Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace.
The D A Syndicate was formed when a number of Hughes’s owners went to India to see the trainer’s son Richard ride in the 2000 Indian Derby. Hughes won the race on Smart Chieftain, and buoyed by the victory the group pledged to get involved in ownership as a syndicate. The plan to buy Rare Bob, their best horse to date and their first John Smith’s Grand National runner, was hatched at Royal Ascot at York in 2005. A few weeks later at Tattersalls’ Ireland’s Derby Sale he was bought for €125,000 as an unraced three-year-old, but he has since won more than €200,000.
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2012 Rare Bob (BD 5th)
Dessie Hughes IRE (Curragh, County Kildare)
A highly successful jockey, Dessie Hughes (born October 10, 1943) partnered Davy Lad to win the 1977 Cheltenham Gold Cup and returned to Prestbury Park three years later to ride Monksfield to victory in the Champion Hurdle. He had four rides in the Grand National, including Davy Lad, but never managed to complete the course. Having always had one eye on the future, Dessie prepared his yard for three years before finally taking out a training licence in 1980 and the winners soon started flowing, including a first Cheltenham Festival victory as a trainer when Miller Hall took the 1982 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
His yard was struck down by a persistent fungal problem in the late 1980s which resulted in Hughes enduring several years of poor form, but the trainer began churning out the winners again in the late 1990s, with horses such as Guest Performance, Rathbawn Prince and Grade One winner Colonel Braxton being standard bearers. But it would be Hardy Eustace who would provide Hughes with some of his finest hours as a trainer.
Owned by long-standing patron Lar Byrne, the Archway gelding won the Grade One Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival before returning a year later take the Champion Hurdle under a superbly judged ride from Conor O’Dwyer. Hardy Eustace went on to victory at the Punchestown Festival and returned to Prestbury Park the following year for another victory in the Champion Hurdle, becoming the first horse since Istabraq to successfully defend his crown. Central House was another outstanding performer for Hughes, winning five Grade Two contests as well as a Grade One Novices’ Chase at Leopardstown.
Schindlers Hunt emerged as another star, winning two Grade One events as a novice chaser and finishing the head runner-up in the Grade One John Smith’s Melling Chase at Aintree in 2009. Black Apalachi has gone closest to giving him a John Smith’[s Grand National winner, finishing second in 2010. Hughes has unearthed another potential star hurdler this season in Our Conor, who routed the opposition in the JCB Triumph Hurdle to give his trainer a sixth success at the Cheltenham Festival.
Hughes also holds the notable feat of saddling a winner on nine consecutive racing days during the 2006 Christmas period, while his son Richard was crowned champion Flat jockey in Britain for the first time in 2012. John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2008 Black Apalachi (Fell 2nd), 2009 Black Apalachi (UR 22nd); 2010 Black Apalachi (2nd), Vic Venturi (UR 20th); 2011 In Compliance (13th), Vic Venturi (BD 2nd); 2012 In Compliance (6th), Rare Bob (BD 6th), Black Apalachi (Fell 8th), Vic Venturi (Ref 19th)