Dunn looking to finish season on a high
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Multiple Group One winner Sundees Son will return to racing at Addington Raceway on Friday night and trainer Robert Dunn is hoping the five-year-old will bring his manners.
The Majestic Son gelding’s Inter Dominion campaign was cut short last year after he developed a tendency to break in his last three appearances.
“He got to the stage where he wasn’t trotting his races out at all, so we just decided to pull the plug,” Dunn said.
Sundees Son will have his first start in nearly nine months when he contests the Allied Security Handicap Trot (2600m) on Friday and Dunn said he took a lot of confidence out of his trial win over 2600m earlier this month.
“We gave him a really good spell and it looks like it has worked a treat,” Dunn said.
“He has been trotting really well at the trials, Johnny (Dunn, driver and South Island stable foreman) has been really pleased with him. He seems to have come back nice and sound and he is trotting great.
“It was a strong win and he trotted nicely all the way, which was the main thing with him.”
Dunn would like to add another Group One win to his tally in the new season and he said Friday night’s race will be focussed on trying to get the talented trotter to remain in his gait for the entire trip.
“It is only a small field but being 30m behind I think Johnny will be looking for a fluid gait all the way and making sure he does everything right,” Dunn said.
“With Sundees Son he is a horse that when he starts doing things wrong he can carry that on for a while.
“It will be a confidence building exercise for him on Friday night.
“His first big aim will be the Dominion (Gr.1, 3200m). If everything goes our way we will have four in it – Sundees Son, Press The Belle, Pretty Majestic, and Woodstone.”
Press The Belle will join Sundees Son in Friday’s contest and Dunn is happy with her ahead of her first-up run this preparation.
“She has been trotting super at the trials and she has come back really well,” he said. “She had a good season and we think she will have an even better season ahead of her.”
One race later Dunn will line-up Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) hopefuls Henry Hubert, Heisenberg, and Classie Brigade.
The trio make up half of the six-horse field, with Princess Tiffany, Self Assured, and Another Masterpiece representing the All Stars Stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
“They will all keep on improving,” Dunn said. “They are heading towards the New Zealand Cup.
“Classie Brigade has a bit more experience than the other two, while Henry Hubert thrives on racing and hopefully he will improve on his run last week.
“Heisenberg has just got to get away from the standing start, he is traditionally better from the mobile. We thought he needed to go around. He is a little bit behind the others in terms of experience so he will improve as the season goes on.
“Mark has got three powerful horses in the race.”
Friday’s meeting will close out the season for Dunn, who has already secured the New Zealand Trainers’ Premiership, the first time he has achieved the feat.
“It’s great and has been a long time coming,” he said. “I never went after it all the way through, there were stables more powerful than me that had bigger buying benches at the sales, but just lately we have bought very well at the sales and as the horses have gotten older they have become stronger and we have got a great group of owners around us.
“Lockdown also helped the cause. I am sure Mark (Purdon) would have been snapping at my heels had lockdown not occurred.
“But we have had a great season and have been strong all the way through. We have got a nice team for the new season, so we are looking forward to it.”