Dunn keen to keep up form

By Michael Guerin

Newly crowned World Champion reinsman Dexter Dunn says he still has two glaring omissions from his resume.

And he wants to reduce that to one this Friday night.

Dunn arrived back in Christchurch yesterday after an unprecedented domination of the World Drivers Champs in New South Wales, his victory in the final heat at Menangle on Sunday seeing him record the greatest winning margin in the history of the series.

“It was pretty special, especially having it sewn up before the last leg,” said Dunn.

“It wasn’t until the actual victory presentation that it started to really sink in.

“To represent your country is the greatest honour in any sport and to wear the silver fern was a huge buzz.

“But you never go into something like that thinking you will win.

“So that, coupled with what great people I got to spend the whole series with, it would be the highlight of my career so far.”

That is a big statement from the 25-year-old who now wins the national premiership every season for fun and in just over a year has won the Hunter Cup and Victoria Cups, Miracle Mile, New Zealand Free-For-All, a Breeders Crown and two Jewels races.

“It has been a pretty special last year but I have a couple of things I still need to win and the first one of those is the Cup this week.”

Dunn partners Christen Me in the $250,000 Auckland Cup, for which he is the $4.50 second favourite behind Adore Me.

Just a month ago Christen Me was pacing’s pin-up boy but a slight injury that saw him forced out of the Inters was followed by supersonic performances from Adore Me and Beautide on Sunday, meaning Christen Me is playing second fiddle going into Friday’s group one.

His, and the task of Adore Me, were made easier yesterday with the expected scratching of Terror To Love.

He was pulled out of the race after failing to recover from the heel damage her suffered in the Interdom Final on Sunday but has not been retired, instead being aimed at the Easter Cup in a month.

His scratching leaves Christen Me following a not particularly quick beginner in Smolda, whereas Adore Me, who has also drawn the second line, looks to have more opportunity to punch through into a handy spot.

While there are serious group one horses like Ohoka Punter and Sky Major drawn on the front line and likely to go forward, it would be reasonable to assume whoever out of Christen Me or Adore Me got around to challenge for the front might get the lead.

“It looks that kind of race and maybe she (Adore Me) is slightly better off that us,” admits Dunn.

“But anything can happen early in races so I can only go out there and drive him the best I can.”
 Dunn is not worried about Christen Me’s recent setback as he trialled well at Menangle last week and worked strongly on Sunday.

“He is coming off the back of two good, hard runs just three weeks ago and he will be ready.

“In fact, he tends to go better when he is a little fresh.

“But Adore Me is going to be very hard to beat because she was awesome the other day.”
 The Auckland Cup is one of Dunn’s two obvious targets in New Zealand, with the other being a New Zealand Cup win.

“But they are both very hard races to win because you don’t often get on horses that good and a lot has to go right for them to win.

“A lot of very good drives have never won a New Zealand or Auckland Cup but I don’t want to stay one of them.

“So they are clearly the next things to tick off the list.”
 Adore Me is into $2 to win the Cup, from which Pemberton Shard is the other scratching.

Hug The Wind, who was just nosed out of the NSW Derby on Sunday, has been scratched from Friday’s Woodlands Derby.