Luciani Racing News

Lou Luciani is one of the most experienced horse trainers in WA. He offers owners a complete package, from selecting and buying a horse through to agistment, training and racing. He takes care of everything – from organizing horse floats to taking care of paperwork – so that owners can have as much or as little hands-on as they want.

Monday, 2 April 2012


Jason Whiting appears to have spotted his mum in the crowd as he reaches the line on LETHAL JONES at Ascot on Saturday. At least the horse is watching where he is going!!

Part owner Greg Dick looks proud as punch as he holds the winners trophy after the post race presentation following the win of LETHAL JONES in the Melvista Hcp on the weekend. It was the first "Black Type" victory for co-trainer Dion Luciani who is hoping to add a Derby win to his resume in the coming weeks. 

All photo's courtesy Hollands Photographics. For more photo's, go to  http://www.hollandsracetrackphotos.com/

Exciting young staying horse LETHAL JONES, has come through his first serious staying test in flying colours and we are looking forward to the him taking his place in the upcoming W.A.Derby in a fortnights time. There are always behind the scene stories when a horse wins any race and there is nothing different about the win of LETHAL JONES.

Jason Whiting who rode the horse on Saturday had the choice a few weeks ago between some exciting two and three year olds moving towards the Karrakatta Plate and the Derby which can be an enviable position to be in however if you make the wrong choice, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. Especially if the "reject" goes on and performs better than the selected ride. That is the risk that any rider takes and at the end of the day they have to live and die by the decisions they make. When Jason had the choice to ride either LETHAL JONES or ROHAN in the J.C.Roberts Quality at their previous starts, I was keen for Jason to ride our horse however I was not confident which way he would go. He chose to stick with the stable and I could see the disappointment in his face when the horse he got off won the race and our horse came in five lengths further back.

Move forward two weeks and the situation was reversed when LETHAL JONES showed why the stable has such a high opinion of his staying ability, when the horse unleashed a mighty finishing effort to get up and win the final lead up to the Derby putting a smile back on the dial of "the fish."  I have to say that at the half way point of the race when Jason had LETHAL JONES back in second last position and off the bridle, I was starting to question whether we may have made a huge mistake in our assessment of the horses ability. To their credit, both horse and rider gained confidence in each other the further they went making it a huge result for the stable and the owners in general.

Whilst only one part owner, Greg Dick, was present at the races on Saturday, both Colin Crossley and Colin Hounsell, will travel down and across from Darwin and Airlie Beach for the "grand final" in a couple of weeks. I' looking forward to catching up with both guys as I have a bit of construction work to do down on my farm the following week so bring your work clobber boys!

Friday, 9 March 2012


LETHAL JONES shown winning at Bunbury recently may prove to be a big improver as the distances of his races get longer  over the next few weeks.

The lightly raced three year old has shown enough ability in track work to suggest that staying is his forte and the few times we have put some distance into his races, his performances have improved out of sight. His half brother CAMPOBELLO was at his best when he got up to 2200m and LETHAL JONES appears to be heading in the same direction.

Although he is still a bit of an "ugly duckling" with quite a loose action and a wayward mind, I can see nothing but improvement from this horse over the next few preparations. Hopefully he improves quickly enough to warrant him taking his place in the 2012 W.A. DERBY which will be run in mid April.

Friday, 17 February 2012


Following an article which I posted on this site some weeks ago, one of my clients has sent me in the following story published in a well respected racing journal last week. It makes interesting reading and appears to back up my thoughts. Doesn't make me right but it is nice to think that statistics appear to back up my argument. Thanks for the article Jill!
The 2YO Death Spiral
Breednet - Media Release - Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Byron Rogers of Performance Genetics has posted an interesting piece of editorial on the merits of two year-old racing and why we should not allow a decline in this area.

Byron Rogers - A death spiral is potentially awaiting us. Internationally, there has been a decline in the annual thoroughbred crop with thoroughbred numbers dropping from a high in the mid 1990′s towards levels in some areas that have not been recorded since the 1950′s

In years to come, there will be significantly smaller foal crops, and without rationalization of racetrack numbers in a meaningful way, racetracks will be putting on races with smaller field sizes which equals lesser betting handle and overall interest in the game, smaller crowds at racetracks, anaemic returns to owners, lower yearling sale prices, lesser foals, and the spiral goes on….

Setting aside racetrack rationalization as an obvious if painful solution, there is a greater underlying issue in terms of genetics and performance as it relates to the thoroughbred that may in fact accelerate this potential death spiral. When it comes to dealing with smaller racing populations, racing administrators and indeed Graded/Group stakes committees around the world seem to all gravitate to one easy solution – reduce the influence/opportunity for two year old racing. It is an easy target.

After all, horses do have issues from time to time and two year olds are always a day to day proposition especially in terms of shin soreness and airway disease. Indeed Graded/Group stakes committees in Australia and to a lesser extent in North America, seem to have really taken a hatchet to the stakes schedule for two year olds, reducing their influence in a dramatic way. In America, one only has to look at the storied history of the Saratoga 2yo races – the Saratoga Special,Sanford Stakes and Hopeful Stakes and their impact on the breed to understand how important two year old racing is to the thoroughbred as a whole.

A push towards a reduction of 2YO racing is also a somewhat popular theory among those that decry 2yo racing as a cause for the reduction in soundness in the breed as a whole.

Setting aside the 2yo in training sales, where horses are often asked to perform at speeds that they will never attain in race competition again, nothing could be further from the truth. In a study released today in the Equine Veterinary Journal, it has been shown that horses that race at two subsequently have longer and more successful careers. The study, which looked at some 4683 horses born in New Zealand, found that horses that raced as 2yo's had significantly more years of racing than those that first raced as 3yo's or older and those that raced as 2yo's had a greater total earnings than those that first raced at a later age.

This study in some ways mirrored and Australian study completed over a decade ago which had similar findings, and also confirms other studies (that can be found here, here and here), that showed that exercise early in a horses career conferred significant benefits in overall musculoskeletal health of the horse. The significant associations found in this study are similar to those that were found in a companion study on Standardbred Horses born in the same year as the thoroughbred study.

While the Standardbred and Thoroughbred are different breeds, it seems that 2YO performance is of importance to future racing performance outcomes, no matter what the breed.

Provided proper training and management practices of 2yo's are adhered to, having horses in training and racing at this age seems to benefit the musculoskeletal health of the horse and confer survival time in terms of the number of years that the horse races.

Studies have shown that up to 50% of all thoroughbreds born fail to race. More concerning is that ~32% of that 50% are horses that never even reach a trainer to attempt to race. If it is not just a factor of oversupply, this my be an area where the scientific community and the racing administrators can come together and work out why this is occurring and how to change this in order to optimize the utilization of the racing population. Regardless of this, it is just as imperative that racing administrators maintain a strong and robust 2YO racing schedule, even if it is a ‘loss leader' in terms of betting handle.

As this study confirms, in reducing the opportunity for two year old racing, which is going to be the most likely initial reaction of smaller racing crops, racing administrators may in fact be doing the exact opposite to ensure that they have full race fields in years to come and accelerate the industry into a death spiral.
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