Five-timer for Dunn
Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
It was a successful day at the office on Friday for Robert Dunn.
The dual Island trainer recorded a treble at Westport before going on to win a double at Alexandra Park, including the quinella in the Gr.3 Greenlane Cup Handicap Trot (2700m).
Enigmatic trotter Woodstone secured his first win in 16 months when holding out stablemate Pretty Majestic in the closing stages to win the trotting feature by 1-1/4 lengths.
Dunn has taken a patient approach with the gelding who has had to overcome a few issues over the last year.
“He has had a lot of problems. He just had one little niggle after another, especially around cup time,” Dunn said.
“We got them sorted out one by one and came north and it has just taken a while for him to get his confidence back again.”
Dunn was pleased with his last start effort when unplaced over 2200m at Alexandra Park last week and he was expecting a solid showing from the gelding on Friday.
“He has been getting better every time,” Dunn said. “In last week’s run his sectionals were pretty exceptional because they went a New Zealand record off the front and he was off 45m.”
Dunn was just as pleased with Pretty Majestic’s runner-up effort on Friday, but cited her busy race schedule may have left her a bit flat.
“Johnny (Dunn, driver) just thought three runs in a row was a bit much for her,” Dunn said.
“She went well, but the other horse when he is on his game he is hard to beat. He sat parked and ran second in a Group One to Speeding Spur, so we know he has done some pretty special things in the past.”
Both trotters will now be set to tackle Group One targets in the coming months.
“They will probably press on towards the Group Ones that are coming up in about six weeks,” Dunn said.
“The Rowe Cup (Gr.1, 3200m) and the Anzac Cup (Gr.1, 2200m) will be the main targets for both of them.”
Earlier in the card You Really Got Me was impressive when winning the Speedfeed Handicap Trot (2700m) by 3-1/2 lengths.
“We were rapt with that one because he has been a long time coming. He has always had enough ability to warrant that one day he will make it.
“His manners at the start let him down, but tonight (Friday) he was on his game and he just showed a lot of ability. I think he will just get better and better from now on.”
Dunn also enjoyed success earlier in the day when recording a winning treble at Westport courtesy of Prodigal Guiness, Anamajor, and Kensington Bill.
“Johnny and the team are doing a great job down south. The three that won races really well, they were good today (Friday).”
Dunn will be looking for continued success at Reefton’s Sunday meeting where he will have six runners, including Anamajor and Rocknroll King who will contest the Buccleugh’s On High Inangahua-Grey Valley Cup (3200m).
“The whole six will go around again and the weather forecast is still good for Sunday, so hopefully we will have as good a day as we had at Westport. That track was sensational,” Dunn said.
“Anamajor has got the superior grass track record. Her grass track record is pretty exceptional really, but she can be a bit indifferent from a stand. She can begin quickly, but she did miss away a couple of times, mainly when she was an early three-year-old.
“Tim (Williams, driver) just thought that Rocknroll King couldn’t get any speed out of the track (on Friday when unplaced).
“Reefton is a completely different track to Westport, so you could toss a coin between the two of them really.”
Meanwhile, Dunn will be keeping close tabs on Passion And Power after the short-priced favourite was beaten into fifth-place in the Gr.2 Delightful Lady Classic (1700m).
“We were disappointed because we thought she could win the race, but we weren’t disappointed with the run,” Dunn said.
“She got lost and was a bit green. She did it one day at a trial as well when she got shunted around, so I think it was a little bit of inexperience on her part in a different type of race.
“It was just unfortunate she drew the second line. She was hanging a little bit and Johnny felt she was going to get pushed down on the fence, which she would have. He therefore had to drop back to last and over 1700m it is always hard to do that.
“We will check her out on Monday. We will take a blood test to make sure there isn’t anything wrong with her.
“There is the Sires’ Stakes in two weeks, so all going well we will look to target that.”