Cunha Breaks UK Ice – Huge Plans To Promote SA Racing


There can’t be too many airline pilots who’ve skilled a Gr1 winner!

Alongside Mike de Kock, Dylan Cunha is without doubt one of the youngest trainers to have saddled a Summer season Cup winner.

Final week the 42 yr outdated reached one other milestone in what has been an awfully various life, when he saddled his first winner from his new base at Newmarket.

Gr1 reminiscences! Glyn Schofield provides the thumbs up as Strategic Information is led in after his Gr1 Summer season Cup success

Mike de Kock was solely 24 when he received the Gauteng flagship in 1989 with Night Mist, whereas the then 28 yr outdated Dylan Cunha received the massive one with the Australian-bred Strategic Information scoring beneath Glyn Schofield in 2008.

In 2018 Cunha referred to as time on coaching, citing an absence of assist on the yearling gross sales, the excessive price of purchases in relation to stakes, escalating prices of operations, and the issue competing with bigger stables as a few of his causes for quitting.

He then pursued his pilot’s licence and was flying passenger jets for Mango, earlier than Covid grounded that profession.

Captain Cunha! Dylan (proper) throughout his Mango days

“I liked it and loved the entire strategy of turning into a constitution pilot, then contract pilot and in the end an airline pilot. Mango was nice, however Covid rapidly ruined that business for years to return sadly. I’m not flying anymore. With two younger youngsters, I’m having fun with being house extra with them!” Dylan advised the Sporting Publish, as he defined that as a Portuguese Passport holder, he made the choice to immigrate to the UK earlier than Brexit, whereas they nonetheless might.

“The choice was justified after Mango ultimately stopped flying just a few months later. The entire household is right here, all doing properly and having fun with it!”

And the massive icebreaker got here on 9 August, when Dylan saddled his first winner courtesy of the Poet’s Voice gelding Mighty Thoughts, who received a handicap at Chelmsford beneath Jason Watson.

Mighty Thoughts costs clear beneath Jason Watson (Pic – provided)

An enthusiastic Dylan explains:

“Mighty Thoughts is owned by Amadeo Del Pos, whom I met by way of a good friend whereas I used to be doing the coach’s modules. We received on rather well and had a beer on the July Sale at Tattersalls. He despatched me Mighty Thoughts, who wanted a little bit of freshening up. Issues turned out properly – he was solely with us for six weeks. I feel he’ll win subsequent time once more. Successful jockey Jason Watson is prime class. He was champion apprentice, however misplaced his method and is on the comeback path and is aiming for 100 winners this season.”

It’s a terrific begin for the Cunha Racing Crew with simply 12 runners to date, 8 of them having earned prize cash.

“These stats are with solely 5 horses. We stay in thrilling occasions,” enthuses Dylan, who tells us that his staff is predicated in Newmarket within the Backside Yard at Phantom Home Stables in Fordham Street.

Champagne! Cunha Racing’s Adam Howchin, Dylan Cunha, homeowners Amedeo and Federica Del Pos, and Luiz Cunha benefit from the second

“William Haggas, Ed Dunlop, William Jarvis, Tom Clover and Marco Bottie are all my neighbours. Now we have 28 stables to start out with. I mainly do all of the work myself with the help of my father. Now we have two lads, Adam and Kanane, who journey out and can ultimately grow to be everlasting workers.”

Dylan provides that every one of Josephine Gordon, Grace Mc Entee, Abbie Pierce and Alice Bond frequently journey out for them, whereas Jason Watson and Kieran Shoemark have additionally ridden out.

“It’s good to have the Saffers right here – I frequently see Gavin Howes and Collen Story,  and not too long ago Greg Cheyne, as they work throughout the street from me.”

When taxed on comparisons with life as a coach on South African soil, Dylan provides rapidly that issues are ‘quite a bit completely different’.

“How I miss the Maiden Plate in South Africa. Right here most maidens run in handicaps after three runs. It may be robust! I ran second with Mr Fayez (a maiden) to a ten time winner receiving a pound at Brighton, for instance. Not straightforward because the system forces trainers to handicap horses. The associated fee can also be fairly heavy for homeowners as, moreover coaching charges, one pays heath charges, transport, jockeys charges and many others and many others. It’s very costly to race right here! South Africa subsidizes quite a bit for the homeowners, whereas the UK places a variety of further prices on the proprietor.”

On the plus facet, he provides that the completely different racecourses are wonderful and there’s plenty of racing – so there are alternatives.

“Fortunately Newmarket is central, so most racecourses are inside two hours from us. It’s not too unhealthy. An enormous optimistic right here is that we are able to journey to wherever on this planet from right here and we are going to accomplish that – very similar to once we went to Dubai with Strategic Information – we simply want to seek out one quickly,” he smiles.

The comfortable homeowners Amedeo and Federica, with Dylan and jockey Jason Watson

Every single day is an extended day, however residing a ardour signifies that it’s all rewarding.

“We get to the yard at 04h30, feed, muck out, clear water buckets, then do the strings at monitor after which feed once more, after which do the workplace work till round 11h30. After that I spend time on social media rising our model, after which again to stables at 16h00 to muck out, feed hay, water, brush and many others till round 18h00. My household assist so we’re all within the groove and revel in it. It’s extra enjoyable than work!”

Dylan tells that staffing is an actual problem.

“South Africans are spoilt with nice grooms. I might have liked to have had my workers from 2007 over right here now.

A ahead and entrepreneurial thinker, Dylan is eager to advertise SA racing.

“I might hope that ultimately I might accomplice with the likes of Drakenstein, Mauritzfontein, Ridgemont Highlands, Gulf Racing, Mike de Kock and Cape Thoroughbred Gross sales, and produce South African horses over right here and be supported by them. A few of these main gamers have horses with the likes of William Haggas, Ed Dunlop, Jane Chappel -Hyam and many others, however nothing says South African louder than me right here in the meanwhile.”

Dylan says that he has labored arduous to forge a robust social media following and construct up native base of homeowners and syndicates, in addition to relationship with the media.

“With the proper assist and the proper horses and partnerships with South Africans, I’ve arrange the platform for South African horses to be taken notice of right here. Racing fillies right here and sending them house and first rate colts going again may also solely preserve bettering the breed again in SA. The press have been extraordinarily and I’ve accomplished a great deal of interviews. The higher myself and Collen Story, Greg Cheyne and many others do right here, the higher.”

He has hopes that the proper folks take notice and a platform can confide in South Africa.

team-south-africa, dubai racing

“Even with journey, I nonetheless consider South Africa presents the most effective worth for cash, and I might like to faucet into that for the longer term. I do know the South African horses properly and, having skilled in SA and the UK,  would have the ability to sync them into the system simpler. I feel a variety of them go flat after they get right here.”

Motivated and with a plan, the Cunha staff are build up slowly and attempting to supply horses that may win and infants ‘that may very well be something’.

“We’ve made a variety of contacts and shall be shopping for just a few on the gross sales and syndicating some as properly. The purpose is to get to twenty horses by December and develop from there – however by no means greater than 50 to maintain it arms on and intimate. I’m actually having fun with getting caught in myself,” provides the person who was once a really succesful rider.

On the age of 42, Dylan tells how he’s loving each minute, having challenged himself  all through his life and achieved issues most individuals by no means do.

“I work arduous and put 200% into the whole lot I do. My household are having fun with it. All of them get caught in and assist. They love the horses they usually all love the UK.”

The Cunha younger era with Oupa and Ouma

Regardless of his new roots, Dylan nonetheless follows racing in South Africa.

“I nonetheless consider South African racing has the horses and horsemen to be a severe pressure on this planet, however hope politics and the unhappy AHS subject don’t depart it there. The Hollywoodbets Durban July, for instance, remains to be one of many nice races of the world and I hope that in the future I can have a Cape Met runner from right here. This certainly have to be the dream for SA as properly, to have worldwide racing!”



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