Genuine pace to suit Dunn pair
By Jonny Turner
A repeat of last year’s Group Three Maurice Holmes Vase won’t cut it for Geoff and James Dunn’s returning stars The Falcon and Laver.
The hardy stayers will both make a start on their new campaigns when stepping out in the first New Zealand Cup qualifying event of 2022.
There looks to be little question about where The Falcon is at ahead of his turn after he produced a stirring performance to run second to race rival Heza Sport in a recent trial.
The four-year-old set up a 3.13.9 time for 2600m – which put in perspective is faster than all but three of the ten editions of the Maurice Holmes Vase.
And it’s more than six seconds faster than Classie Brigade’s 3.20.6 time in last year’s race.
Geoff Dunn admitted he didn’t expect his horse to produce such a strong trial, but it does reflect how forward and well he is.
“He seems to be pretty forward, I do hope that trial hasn’t knocked him around a bit but he seems to have come through it pretty good,” Dunn said.
“I didn’t expect him to go that quick but he was just travelling so nice.”
“It is a worth a shot getting in early in the season but he will lets us know whether he is good enough to be in the (New Zealand) Cup in his next few starts.”
A repeat of a sedate time like in last year race wouldn’t suit The Falcon or Laver with both looking in need of a genuine tempo to show their best.
Both horses start from the unruly which means they could also be back in the pack which isn’t the place to be in a walk and sprint affair.
Laver has also trialled twice ahead of his return and though he won’t strip at his peak he looks forward enough to run a strong race.
“He has come back really good, I am really happy with him,” Dunn said. ‘
“He usually takes a few runs but he has had a couple of trials and he has gone pretty good.”
“So fingers crossed that he is forward enough because he does thrive on racing.”
“But he will still race as good as he can because we want to get out there before all the good horses come back.”
There looks every chance Classie Brigade could dominate the Maurice Holmes Vase after he drew the same starting spot he won from – barrier 2.
The brilliant standing start exponent will seek his third win in the race, following his victories in both 2019 and 2021 for the Robert and Jenna Dunn stable.