2022 Addington Harness Hall Of Fame Inductees
by Peter Craig
This year’s inductees were announced at Addington Raceway on Friday 16 September 2022 as part of the twentieth Canterbury Owners and Breeders Night.
Two time winner of the NZ Trotting Cup in Just An Excuse and national racing identity Robert Dunn are the latest to be honoured by the Addington Harness Hall of Fame.
Robert Dunn is a leading Canterbury and national harness racing identity. An elite level horseman for nearly five decades, Robert’s career commenced at sixteen assisting Basil Lynskey before joining Kevin Ryder’s stable accompanying horses to the USA (Monticello) working for Kumeu trainer Don Hayes.
On returning to NZ he spent time working for Addington Harness Hall Of Fame inductees Jack Smolenski and Jim Dalgety for whom his first major driving victories came as a junior driver with Bolton Byrd in the GN Derby and Auckland Cup.
Driving stats – NZ best season 1990/91 (36), overall 310 wins (108 at Addington), NZ$2.464m, multiple Group One winners (Master Musician four, Bolton Byrd two, Ladys Rule, National Glory, Lyndon Robert; seven at Addington). Eighteen driving wins in Australia (A$663,249) including Victoria/Hunter Cups, ID heats (Albion Park; Gloucester Park two), with Master Musician.
Having trained at West Melton, Broadfield, Woodend Beach and now operating a dual stable regime at Woodend Beach (with son John’s wife Jenna)/Pukekohe, his impressive training stats include his two premierships in the past two seasons (second previous six seasons), five time century of winners in a season, four times five winners in single day together with twenty four Group One winners. He has trained numerous age group award winners plus Trotter of Year/Harness Horse of Year and Pacer/Harness Horse of year including NZ Cup winner – Mainland Banner and dual Rowe/ANZAC Cup and Dominion Hcp winner Sundees Son.
In total Robert Dunn has trained 1,813 winners (662 Addington) in NZ (fourth behind Purdon’s – Barry, Mark and Roy) and a further twenty six in Australia. He recently produced his 1,800th winner.
Robert Dunn, the latest horseperson inductee into the Addington Harness Hall Of Fame will forever be synonymous with the “Master”, millionaire pacer Master Musician and champion trotter Sundees Son.
Just An Excuse – millionaire, eleventh winner of two NZ Cups, winning sixteen races in NZ, four at Addington, one in Australia. Combined Australasian career stats showed 39 starts, 17-4-11, $1,035,068, 1:55.6NZ. Winner of nine group races including five at Group One level (Taylor Mile, Messenger, NZ Cup twice and NZFFA (twenty seventh NZ Cup/NZFFA double).
Leading 4yo H&G pacing stake earner for 2002/03 ($197,597) and 5yo+ H&G pacing stake earner for 2003/04 ($274,222), Four year old entire or gelding of year and Aged entire or gelding of year. Just An Excuse was trained throughout his career by Robert Mitchell at Raglan and driven in all his races by his son Todd “The Wizard” Mitchell for owner/breeder/administrator Ollie Haines and wife Irene. A NZ Trotting Hall of Fame inductee.
Just An Excuse’s retirement came to a premature end when he suffered a paddock injury breaking his leg and being put down in June 2008. Just An Excuse is the latest inductee into the Addington Harness Hall Of Fame.