Classie Brigade going as well as ever
By Jonny Turner
Trainer Robert Dunn declared Classie Brigade is in the best shape he’s been in heading into a New Zealand Cup after the veteran claimed a third straight Kaikoura Cup at Addington on Monday.
With his usually brilliant manners and the dash a horse half his age would be proud of, the eight-year-old zipped along the passing lane to beat the favourite South Coast Arden for driver John Dunn.
Though it is clearly not the first time the pacer has headed into a New Zealand Cup in great form, the sharpness Classie Brigade has shown in his win on Monday and his second to Self Assured in the Ashburton Flying Stakes has been enough for Dunn to suggest the horse is the best place he’s been in going into the great race.
“I think he is going as good as he ever has, the old boy,” Dunn said.
“Last season he wasn’t rounding his races off and I talked to his owners Grant (Eynon) and Mark (McKinnon).”
“We thought about retiring him, but in the end he had a minor wind (procedure) and that has really helped him.”
“We would love to draw the front line now in the (New Zealand) Cup because he has got such great manners and if could step away like he can he would go a great race.”
“He drew the second line last year (18) but when he drew the front two years ago when Cruz Bromac won it, he went super and ran third.”
“He was actually a bit unlucky, he got held up at the wrong time and he could nearly have won it.”
The Robert and Jenna Dunn stable have confirmed they will have a four-strong line up in the New Zealand Cup.
Classie Brigade will be joined by Kaikoura Cup starters Henry Hubert (3rd), Matt Damon (6th) and Steel The Show, who ran third in the Sales Series Aged Classic on Monday.
“Henry Hubert went a super race, I thought,” Dunn said.
“Matt Damon ran sixth, he maybe should have ran fifth, but he is getting better and we know from his fourth in the Auckland Cup he will love the two miles.”
“Steel The Show went well, he is better driven in behind them but there wasn’t much pace on so Johnny had to go forward.”
The Dunn stable will also have a four-strong Dominion team with defending champion Sundees Son to be joined by Mataderos, Chief Of Staff and Woodstone.
Classie Brigade rounded out a winning treble for the Dunns on Monday, who also won with Dance Til Dawn and Soundsofcash.