Dunns set to play key role on Sapling Stakes day

By Mike Love

Premiership leading trainers Robert and Jenna Dunn have a lot of reasons to be confident going into both two-year-old features at Ashburton today.

The Sapling Stakes at Group 2 level and the Helen Pope Fillies Classic at Group 3 will highlight today’s card.

Race 6, the time-honoured Group 2 $60,000 Rakaia Seed Cleaning Sapling Stakes over 1700m will see the Dunns line up three of the six starters.

Group 1 Welcome Stakes winner Got The Chocolates is undoubtedly the horse to beat, with the TAB opening him at $1.25 with usual reinsman John Dunn aboard.

“He has trained on nicely since his last win, and has been holding his condition. He’s got high gate speed and will be prominent early on,” says co-trainer Robert Dunn.

“He will be hard to beat.”

Dunn’s other two runners in the field Bruntwood Brigade and Malakai are also strong chances with luck.

Bruntwood Brigade, driven by Bob Butt, has come on in leaps and bounds since his maiden victory at Addington last week.

“He really improved on his first couple of runs and he’s really improved nicely on those. We are really happy with him.”

While Malakai with Tim Williams on board will need to work at some stage from his wide draw, Dunn is excited about the Captain Crunch juvenile looking into the future.

“He’s done really well. It was an excellent run last time. He’s a good stayer in the making. He’s going to be an excellent horse in the making. We think he’ll be an even better three-year-old.”

Race 7, the Helen Pope Fillies Classic at Group 3 level for a stake of $40,000 will see Dunn line up two runners, with the scratching of opening favourite Queen Tyron due to a lung infection.

Gone Surfin and driver Tim Williams now move into barrier one with that scratching.

“She will get a good run. We were thrilled with her last run. The time she went was pretty good. We are really happy with her. It should be a great race.”

While Tyron’s Connoisseur is slammed with another wide draw junior driver Korbyn Newman will likely be looking for one run at them.

“Another wide draw to deal with. She’ll go back and run home. She’s done a great job this time in.”

“They’ll all be going for a break after ... and we are really looking forward to getting them back in the spring.”

The Dunn team also line up eight other runners on the card including Harrison John, Miki’s Courage, Hadron Collider and Neverseentherain in race 8, the Rural Business Accountants Champion Stakes which carries a healthy purse of $30,000.

Racing commences at 11:35am.

 

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