The Falcon and Laver give Dunns strong hand at Addington
By Michael Guerin
Spring may finally be here but harness trainer Geoff Dunn says it comes with some unwelcome issues.
Like the one that saw his talented pacer The Falcon flop so dramatically at Addington last week.
Dunn and his son James train two of the rugged open class performers in Canterbury pacing, the other being Laver, and thought they were set to win The Falcon’s comeback race last week until he stopped like he had hit quicksand.
“We got him home and found he was all full gunk and couldn’t breath,” says Dunn.
“The vet examination showed it was an allergy to pollen, which just flared up with spring coming around.
“There was no sign of it and because it only comes up when he is in certain areas it is better now. We treated it with antibiotics but it is more keeping him away from certain paddocks during spring.”
So The Falcon will be back at Addington tonight along with his even better performed stablemate Laver (R3, No.8) but facing different challenges.
The Falcon is on a 20m handicap against a high-class opponent Alta Meteor and some hardened types in Heisenberg and Bach.
“Now we have got to the bottom of what happened last week he can go a far better race,” says Dunn.
Laver’s challenge is different even though he looked ready to rock with a strong trial win last week in a blazing last 800m.
“He has had all sorts of issues,” says Dunn of the horse whose relentless racing style once struck fear into his rivals.
“He had a hind suspensory injury, which he is now over, and last season he had a serious of bad luck stories.
“But he was really good at the workouts last week. The problem is he has the outside draw this Friday and I don’t want him having a hard run like he used to in case it kicks his arse fresh up.
“I’d rather see him go back at the start and then hope for a hot pace so he can get into it late but that isn’t his best racing style to be honest.”
If Laver isn’t going the attack like he did in a series of open class races two years ago that will aid Beach Ball tonight.
The hard-running pacer has remarkably only won one race in the last year after looking destined for open class when he bravely locked horns with Akuta and co in the Derbys to start 2022.
He wouldn’t be the first three-year-old to struggle with the demands of taking on older horses at four but he looked very sharp when second to Laver at the trials last week and if he can work his way to the front tonight he could return to the winner’s circle.
The race has plenty of depth for a small field though with Donmaro, who is also entered in race 8, a chance while former talented Southland pacer Macandrew Aviator is now trained in Canterbury and looks well graded tonight.