Dunn jets off
Champion driver Dexter Dunn’s much-delayed North American campaign is finally about to begin.
The 10-time premiership winning driver flies to New York tonight for at least six weeks of driving on the East Coast of the United States and it is very much a case of better late than never.
Dunn had hoped to be in New Jersey two months ago so he could drive and make contacts in North American harness racing for at least three or even four months.
But visa issues have frustrated Dunn and instead now he expects to be back home in Canterbury inside two months.
“It has been frustrating but at least the visa I did eventually get is valid for three years so I won’t have to go through this again next year,” says Dunn.
“I am looking forward to getting up there and ideally would love to pick up a few drives next week.”
Dunn will be based with family friend and former Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder and thinks he is most likely to pick up drives at Chester, Pocono or Yonkers.
The latter would be the best chance for Kiwi harness racing fans to track Dunn’s progress or even take the chance to bet on him as Yonkers is covered on Trackside television.
“To be honest it might not be the ideal time to be going as the good horses will start racing here soon but I didn’t have that much lined up in the way of open class pacers.
“And I still really want to go and experience the racing up there again. If it all goes well I could stay a little longer but at this stage I think I will be back around early October.
“While that isn’t as long as I would have liked it should at least give me a break as well as a chance to make contacts for when I go back next season, all going well.”
With Dunn set to be off the New Zealand scene for at least six weeks don’t expect the TAB to open a market on the driver’s premiership any time soon.
After years of pressure they finally did so last season as Blair Orange broke Dunn’s stranglehold on the premiership but with Orange likely to have at least a six week headstart over Dunn this term the race for the premiership could be over before it begins.
Orange’s defence of his title could come down to whether he is willing to make regular trips to Manawatu for their circuit as his wins there, mainly on Michael House-trained horses, were the difference in last season’s premiership.
“I’ll be going back for sure,” confirms Orange.
“I have spoken to Michael and he will be looking to take a team to a lot of their meetings and I was well looked after there last season so I plan to be driving there again.”