Dunn's dream becoming more of a focus
75: Robert Dunn
65: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen
57: Michael House
40: Barry Purdon
38: Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon
36: Steve Telfer
By Michael Guerin
Robert Dunn is starting to dare to dream.
He is not getting carried away just yet, having finished second in the national harness racing trainer’s premiership enough times to know how hard it is to win.
Especially when you are competing against the greatest stable Australasian harness racing has known and one of the best in the world.
But with a 10-win lead over the All Stars in the premiership and four-and-a-half months to go, Dunn’s dream of a first ever premiership win is coming more sharply into focus.
Last weekend he trained 11 winners, propelling him to what could be a decisive break but he is still cautious.
“I have been in the position in the past when I thought I had a shot and the Mark and Natalie trained 10 winners in a week and that was that,” laughs Dunn.
“So I know how hard they are to beat.
“But maybe the one thing in our favour is usually we have been chasing whereas now we have the lead.
“And we have plenty of horses and quite a few that can race through the winter. So this might be our best chance.
“Johnny (son and trainer of their Canterbury stable) and I have spoken about it but not too much so far.”
What will aid Team Dunn this season is the All Stars don’t have huge numbers racing in the grades and many of their better horses will be aimed at the same races.
The regularly have three or four juveniles in the group ones at the end of a season but only one can win so their best age group pacers could spend plenty of time racing against each other.
Whereas the Dunn have open class horses through to maidens who will race everywhere from Southland to Alexandra Park, that spread meaning they can more easily get out of each others away.
The TAB doesn’t open a market on the harness racing trainer’s premiership but if they did, all factors considered, Dunn should be a $1.05 chance to add the title to the milestone of 1500 domestic wins he achieved at Kaikoura earlier this season.
There won’t be any big numbers to be added at Alexandra Park tonight as the ATC host just five races, one of their smallest meetings ever although field struggles the week after major carnivals are not rare in either code.
Dunn has two trotters in the first race and says while Resonate is the stronger a front line draw over the mobile mile means You Really Got Me is at least as good a chance.
“He has been pretty good off the gate (mobile start) and that could prove decisive.”
The Ross Paynter-trained pair of Molly Bones and Anditover, who both look headed for better things, look the dangers.
Dunn has far greater numbers at Addington where unbeaten three-year-old Heroes Square is rated the stable’s best chance in a strong three-year-old field.
“He is a good horse and very much a horse we are aiming at the Derby,” says Dunn.
“The only reason it has taken him this long to get him racing is because of some issues but we would like to think he is up to the good three-year-olds.”