Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Dayjur: The Horse Who Jumped Shadows

The Mighty Dayjur
Think of a sprinter...

 A horse so fast it captured the attention of fans across the globe. A class act crowned a champion but still, to this day, assessed with a measure of hard luck for an act that saw him lose a race he should have won.

For those who love their sprinters, there is only one horse who comes to mind. 

Dayjur.

He was born on the 6th February 1987. This American-bred son of Danzig out of a dam called Gold Beauty. Bred in Kentucky. Dayjur raced under the ownership of Sheikh Hamdan Al-Maktoum. An expensive yearling purchase for that decade costing $1.65M. Considering such an outstanding horse had total earnings of £327,280 it details his incredible price tag. 

The association of Dayjur went hand-in-hand with his trainer Major Dick Hern, who had been seriously injured in a hunting accident in 1984 which left him wheelchair bound. Both man and horse had a will of steel. 

This brown horse made his two-year-old debut at Newbury on the 15th June 1989. His reputation was tall - he started 8/15f. He won ''easily'' by a length. However, his second race at Listed class didn't go to plan when he was beaten by half a length at odds of 8/13f by Rushmoore, trained by Clive Brittain. 

At the end of the two-year-old season, he had a wind operation (to improve his breathing).

In a relatively short career of eleven races, his three-year-old season would be his last. 

However, this season would give him credit as one of the greatest sprinters of all time but, in the process, break the heart of his trainer and race fans around the world. 

Once again, Dayjur suffered disappointment on his return to racing in 1990. Major Dick Hern had him earmarked for 2000 Guineas (which proved to be a mistake). Racing over 7f in the European Free Handicap saw him disappointing to finish seventh of ten runners. 

Plans were quickly changing. 

Dayjur was dropped back to 6f and given a confidence-boosting run at Nottingham. However, he was beaten a head by Tod, at Newbury. 

At this stage, he looked far from a supreme talent. 

The Major hadn't lost faith. In fact, he entered Dayjur for the Temple Stakes at Sandown over the minimum trip of 5f. 

His jockey, Willie Carson, led from start to finish - winning by two lengths in good style. 

Now connections knew they had a serious horse on their hands and all illusions of him racing beyond sprint distances were forgotten.

In June, he won the King's Stand at Royal Ascot by two-and-a-half lengths although Major Hern was concerned about soft ground. The runner-up, Ron's Victory, was many lengths clear of the third and then went on to frank the form by winning the Diadem Stakes by ten lengths. 

Dayjur was made 8/11f to win the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) racing over 5f at York. He won by an easy four lengths and achieved a course record of 56:16. The Racing Post comment stated: ''very impressive''. (The only horse to beat his time is Borderleescott  (56:09) in 2008.) 

The latter part of Dayjur's career was coming to a conclusion. A few races to add to his credentials as being a true sprinting legend. 

In September, connections decided to attempt six furlongs in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup at Haydock. It was a stiff race with highly-rated Dead Certain a major opponent. Could Dayjur last the extra furlong? 

He led from start to finish. Going clear at the two-furlong pole, he held the late challenge of Royal Academy to win by one and a half lengths. 

To boost the form, Royal Academy went on to win the Breeders' Cup Mile in the United States. 

Dayjur won his final race in Europe when beating four rivals in the Prix de l'abbaye at Longchamp, France. 

Winning, and being eased at the line, Dayjur appeared to jump a shadow cast across the course!

By this time Dayjur had been heralded a sprinting sensation. He would represent Europe by travelling to the United States of America to contest the 1990 Breeders' Cup Sprint, at Belmont Park. A wide draw made life difficult. However, a gutsy Dayjur contested the lead and then headed Safely Kept and looked to have the race sealed. In the closing strides of the race (heartbreaking) Dayjur saw a shadow cast across the track and jumped losing momentum. Then, unbelievably, jumped another shadow at the finishing line. He lost by a neck as the filly took advantage of his ill fate. 

Dayjur Bio: (6th February 1987 - 25 September 2013)

Race record: 

11 runs, 7 wins, 3 seconds and unplaced on one occasion

Awards: 

British Horse of the Year 1990
European Champion Sprinter 1990 





What are your memories of this great sprinter? 




1 comment:

  1. Dayjur was the best sprinter in the world - denied by a twist of fate. Safely Kept was an outstanding filly. She won 24 of her 31 starts, placed 6 times and unplaced once. She had 16 major wins for trainer Alan E. Goldberg. She won $2,194,206 in total earnings. Named U.S Champion Sprinter 1989. Put in the U.S racing Hall of Fame (2011).

    ReplyDelete