NZ HARNESS NEWS
OCTOBER 3, 2017
DEXTER DUNN ON THE RUN
Champion Kiwi driver Dexter Dunn admits his 10-year reign at the top of the national premiership is under serious threat from good friend Blair Orange this season.
Orange, who has run second to Dunn for four years, has made a flyer to the new season and sits on 27 wins, while Dunn’s season was delayed until after the world drivers championship in Canada, where he finished fourth defending his crown, and a trip to Colorado three weeks ago for a club rugby tournament with the West Melton second division team, who he plays halfback for.
“The rugby was pretty brutal with a lot of professionals who play for the US team.
‘’We were half serious and half social, but the teams we played were professional. The body was pretty sore afterwards but no bones were broken. We probably made more of a mark (socialising) after the games.’’
His absence has seen Orange on a tear, nine wins ahead of his 18 at the same stage last season, with Dunn on 11 after reaching 16 at the same stage last term.
“Blair is off to roaring start and had a great year last year. If Blair won it wouldn’t worry me really because he’s a good friend and he probably deserves to win one.
‘’Let’s see what happens later in the year. I just want to do the best I can again and drive as many winners as I can.’’
Dunn picked up four winners last weekend, including promising three-year-old Pat’s Delight, who won nicely at Addington fresh-up after a last racing in May for West Melton trainer Cran Dalgety.
He has drawn eight in a tough NZ Sires Stakes heat (1950m mobile) at Addington this Friday, with the unbeaten Chase Auckland and class colt The Devils Own lining up for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
“He’s improved a lot since his two-year-old season, but drawing eight will make it hard for him,’’ said Dunn.
“He is yet to prove himself against the good ones but he’s a really nice horse and we haven’t got to the bottom of him yet. Hopefully he can have a good year.
“He didn’t win by a big margin (last Friday) but didn’t have a gut-buster so it was pleasing.’’
The Dalgety-trained Master Moonlite will resume later in the season after his failure in the Australian Breeders Crown final so Dunn might have to choose his NZ Derby (April 6) drive out of the two if Pat’s Delight measures up.
This season’s Hannon Memorial winner and last year’s NZ Cup third place-getter Titan Banner will be Dunn’s drive in the cup on November 14 and he is ultra-keen to win the big one, with his best finish a neck second driving Bettor’s Strike in Monkey King’s 2009 cup.
“If there’s one race you want to win it’s the NZ Cup, but they aren’t easy to win that’s for sure.
‘’Titan Banner is in good form so far this year and has the credentials, but it’s hard when you are racing superstars like Lazarus and Heaven Rocks, who looks like he’s got better this year from what I’ve seen at the workouts.’’
– NZ HARNESS NEWS