It’s fair to say the last six weeks haven’t exactly gone smoothly for the Westview Racing Syndicates and their head Principal Nigel Armstrong. In fact, Armstrong even considered getting Lumos insured before the Nelson Summer Carnival.
“Six weeks ago we had a two-year-old called Mapua Gladiator (Christian Cullen-Mapua Bay) die after rupturing a hernia,” said Armstrong. “I was actually there when it happened and it wasn’t pretty.”
“Robert (Dunn) was away on holiday at Queenstown for the weekend and everyone was too scared to tell him as they knew he would rush back to Christchurch. He thought the world of the horse and was setting him for the Young Guns,” he added.
Dunn then leased Kotare Kate (Royal Mattjesty – Kotare Karma) to the Westview No 7 Syndicate to replace Mapua Gladiator, only to have her die of a heart attack three days prior to her debut at Nelson.
“Robert said she was working super and told us that she would win on the first day at Nelson,” revealed Armstrong. “Many of the members of the Westview No 7 Syndicate are new to racing so it hasn’t taken them long to learn the highs and lows of the sport.”
Armstrong, who followed his father’s footsteps into ownership, enjoyed 19 wins as an owner last year.
“The Westview Syndicates have been extremely successful and that is evident as we are now up to syndicate number seven,” said Armstrong. In fact we are yet to have anyone pull out of a single syndicate,” he added.
Armstrong said that there were only two or three people that were in both the Westview No 7 Syndicate and the No 6 syndicate that owns Lumos.
“His win on the second-day at Nelson was still a much needed tonic for everyone involved though.”
Lumos’s emphatic 3 & ¾ length win followed on from his close-up second on the first day.
“He can be a bit goofy out in front and he sometimes waits for his opposition. That cost him on the first day, so Johnny (Dunn) held him back to the field for as long as possible before cutting the ribbons on Sunday,” said Armstrong. “Robert thinks he is one of the quickest horses in the stable. He certainly hasn’t finished winning yet.”
Armstrong said there have been a few offers on the table for Lumos, but at this stage the syndicate is keen to keep racing him.
“It is more about the fun than the money,” said Armstrong. “He picks up a cheque most weeks, so we certainty aren’t going to lose anything by racing him.”
Armstrong, who along with his ‘Westview groupies’ is often a brutal force in the Punters’ Competitions, last year designed a pair of silks in which all of the Westview horses now race in.
“All of the horses that we race are trained by Robert Dunn, so we made our colours very similar to his and just incorporate the ‘Westview Racing’ Logo,” explained Armstrong.
Other horses previously raced by the Westview team include Montecrengle, Fiery Achiever, and Ten Diamonds. They are also currently racing four-win pacer Comenche
Meanwhile, the Dunn’s have had further bad luck with smart types Kotare Mahal and Rider On The Storm.
“Kotare Mahal broke down badly after his last start at Addington and may need to be put down, while Rider On The Storm went in the suspensory again after just one comeback trial,” revelled John Dunn.
By Mitchell Robertson