Dunn lines up five in Cup
NZ HARNESS NEWS
Trainer Robert Dunn will equal the record for the most starters in a New Zealand Cup when he lines up five horses in the $800,000 at Addington event on Tuesday.
Dunn will gear up Alta Orlando, Captain Dolmio, Letspendanitetogetha, Billy Badger and Zadaka for the 3200-metre event.
Mark Purdon started five horses in the 2012 New Zealand Cup and equalled that effort in partnership with Natalie Rasmussen last year.
“Five horses in the cup – it is unreal,” Dunn said.
Alta Orlando looks the best of Dunn’s to add another New Zealand Cup to the 2006 title he won with Mainland Banner.
The seven-year-old has become a serious cup contender after producing sizzling finishes in a number of the event’s lead up races.
Victory with Alta Orlando could potentially be even more meaningful for Dunn than Mainland Banner’s epic win 12 years ago as his son, John, will be in the sulky.
What could surprise punters is that Dunn rates both Captain Dolmio and Letspendanitetogetha closely behind Alta Orlando.
Captain Dolmio went a disappointing race in the last cup hit out at Addington on Friday night and Billy Badger also failed in the event.
Dunn put that down to the horses not having been as fit as expected due to a lack of hard racing and the pair both being freshened after the Ashburton Flying Stakes.
“Captain Dolmio worked super on Tuesday; we treated him and we are hoping he’s bounced back.
“We were not overly disappointed with him at Addington.
“They had been going no time and then they went 3.08, so we just thought they were both a real gallop short because we gave them a freshen up.
“If we can get Captain Dolmio back to his best, he is tucked right in behind Alta Orlando - they are the best two at the moment.”
Letspendanitetogetha went a dreadful race in the Ashburton Flying Stakes when running last.
The Dunn stable have found the cause of that failure and have worked on rectifying it.
“Letspendanitetogetha, he had a niggly problem at Ashburton and we have treated him as well.
“He fractured an ankle as a young horse and it has been annoying him, so we treated him and he trained lovely on Tuesday.”
Jim Curtin will drive Letspendanitetogetha and Nathan Williamson will drive Captain Dolmio.
A driver is yet to be confirmed for Billy Badger but Gavin Smith seems the likely choice while Dunn stable employee, Ross Houghton, will drive Zadaka.
The horse snuck in the field by taking the last available spot.
Though Zadaka is ranked a $181 shot, Dunn is hopeful the horse can run a good race.
“The owners paid up for him and he is on the unruly now so he will probably go away a lot better.
“I don’t think he will disgrace himself at all, I think he will go a nice honest race.”