Jaws drop as Sundees Son rewrites history
By Jonny Turner
Just like harness racing fans across Australasia, the team behind Sundees Son were left utterly speechless when the star trotter produced one of the greatest trotting performances in New Zealand’s history to win the Group One Dominion at Addington on Show Day.
The Robert and Jenna Dunn trained six-year-old didn’t just break his own national and race record set in his brilliant win in the 3200m feature last year, he absolutely smashed it, setting a new mark few thought was possible.
Perfectly handled by driver John Dunn, Sundees Son crossed the line in the jaw-dropping time of 3.56.6 – a massive 4.9sec faster than his 4.00.5 win in the race last year.
And even more incredibly, his time was 2.2sec faster than what Copy That’s clocked when winning the New Zealand Cup over the same trip on Tuesday.
Emotions flowed from owner-breeders Colin and Nancy Hair, as well as from the training team behind the star squaregaiter including Robert and Jenna Dunn and her father Craig Edmonds.
Understandably, it was a combination of jubilation from witnessing a stunning victory and a sense of disbelief after their trotting star had produced one of the most remarkable performances in 110 editions of the Dominion.
“It was unbelievable,” Jenna Dunn said.
“Sunny is a special horse and with him anything is possible, but it is still unbelievable that he won like that.”
As unique as his stunning victory was, so is the way the team behind Sundees Son come together to make him a success.
The Hairs have pulled off a breeding miracle with their Sundon mare Stardon, while Jenna and her father Craig Edmonds and John Dunn and his father Robert all contribute to the fine-tuning of a superstar trotter and his career.
“I am just so lucky to be a part of it, Dad does a lot of work with the horse and Johnny does too, it is a real team effort.”
Colin and Nancy Hair were understandably speechless after watching their trotting star rewrite history.
It could take several days for the gravity of what they witnessed on Friday to sink in.
“I still don’t believe what just happened,” Colin Hair said.
“It is just incredible, I think it will take some time to sink in.”
Sundees Son’s performance and winning time surely rates him in the top tier of trotters around the world.
With little to prove in New Zealand, taking on those global superstars seems an inevitable option.
“With Covid we have never really considered going anywhere, the Interdominions were never an option,” Hair said.
“I have always said that unless Craig can go with him and John can drive him and he can race in Robert’s colours he won’t be going anywhere.”
“But now he has won a lot of the big races here twice, we will have to consider going somewhere.”
The Dunn team produced another brilliant training performance in the Dominion with Mataderos just a length behind his stablemate in second.
The trotter also smashed the 3200m national record as he continued his rise from battling Aussie bush trotter to Group One star in just his 13th start in New Zealand.
The Dunn stable also produced Chief Of Staff for the race of his lifetime, finishing fourth behind third placegetter, Bolt For Brilliance.