DEXTER TAKING IN US RUGGERFEST THIS WEEKEND
Ten-time champion NZ driver and 2015 World Driving Champion Dexter Dunn has taken a leave of absence from NZ harness racing this weekend.
Dexter is taking in the four-day Aspen Ruggerfest tournament at Aspen, Colorado, in the United States, with the West Melton Warhogs.
He was also overseas in August competing at the World Driving Championships in Canada, and the Australasian Breeders Crown Finals day in Victoria.
Kentuckiana Lodge junior driver Cameron Jones has the drive behind two of the stable’s best chances, Just Dance and Shineonucrazydiamond, at Addington on Saturday.
Last season’s top junior driver Rory McIlwrick will again drive Art Union, this time in the day’s feature, the Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup, while part-time driver Stevie Golding, who helped out at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday, guiding Pat’s Delight and Alpha Rock to win trials, will rein Debnita Rose.
Senior Rangiora driver Gavin Smith will try his luck with The Kaik from the ace draw, while former top junior Robbie Close has picked up the drive behind trot mare Donegal Bettorgretch in the Anthony Shearer Ordeal Trotting Cup.
Meanwhile, fellow top Canterbury reinsman Blair Orange will try and distance himself even further ahead of Dexter on this season’s Drivers Premiershp at the Addington day meeting.
Blair, who was 35 wins behind Dexter at the end of last season’s premiership, has racked up 18 wins to Dexter’s three in the early stages of this season’s premiership.
Orange has a host of form drives, including pre-post favourite Habibti Ivy in the Ordeal Trotting Cup.
He is chasing his second win in the races, having won it behind the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained Cyclone U Bolt four years ago.
The Anthony Shearer Ltd-sponsored race now has direct entry for the winner to the Group One Haras des Trotteurs Dominion at Addington in November, which is of more significance for Donegal Bettorgretch, if she is able to beat her more favoured rivals..
Orange should be dividend-bearing for much of Saturday, with Habibti Ivy clearly his best winning chance.
He is ineligible to compete in the opening race for amateur drivers but has a full book in the other nine races.
The other Orange drives are: Karmic Way, Idle Moose, Ready To Rumble, Sundons Flyer, Reaza Grunter, Buster Brady, Beachbabebeauty and Amazon Lily.
His second best drive may be with Beachbabebeauty, who was very impressive winning on debut two weeks ago for Orange’s employers, the Ken and Tony Barron stable.