Laver’s game on point
By Jonny Turner
Laver will be out to serve up yet another strong performance when he steps out in the feature pace at Addington on Saturday night.
After winning on Kaikoura Cup Day, the Geoff and James Dunn trained pacer took his game to a new level with two placings at the New Zealand Carnival.
The four-year-old continued his good momentum with a tough effort for second equal in last weekend’s Akaroa Cup and he looks set to go well again in race 6.
“Has been flying since Kaikoura,” James Dunn said.
“Since then he has just got a bit of confidence.”
“He surprised us with the way he backed up on Show Day after his big run on Cup Day.”
“He was a wee bit flat after Cup Day, but that was probably the best run of his life on Show Day.”
Though he went well in the Akaroa Cup, Laver could have offered more if his mind was completely on the task at hand.
The pacer should be more at home when reverting back to Addington’s all-weather track on Saturday for driver Gerard O’Reilly.
“It probably didn’t really suit him being in front on the grass,” Dunn said.
“Gerard said he couldn’t really get him to go quick enough – he was looking around and didn’t really grab the bit.”
“But he did well to come back at the winner.”
Laver will face the standing start tapes for just the second time after making a decent getaway at Motukarara last weekend.
Beginning quickly from the front line will be essential if he is going to beat the favourite and 25m backmarker, Fabrizio.
“The only horse we would be really worried about is Fabrizio, with all things being equal,” Dunn said.
“But, he has still got to step.”
“It is only Laver’s second stand.”
“Hopefully he can put the pace on himself, which I suppose he will have to with Fabrizio being off 25m.”
Fabrizio comes into race 6 as the horse to beat after he bounced back to his best form by winning last weekend’s Timaru Cup.
The Dunn stable also start Brother John in race 3 following his good second behind Heza Sport at Timaru last weekend.
“He went really good,” Dunn said.
“We thought he was home [to win] around the bend, but I think the horse that beat him is a better animal than him at this stage.”
“So, he went as good as he could.”
Despite having to carry saddlecloth 15, Brother John is expected to go another strong race.
“We would like to have him in a stand, but they haven’t got a stand carded for the next month,” Dunn said.
“So he is in a mobile and he has got a bad draw, but if he can get into the race and be thereabouts turning in he won’t let us down.”
The Dunn stable will also debut Play It Now in race 8.
The three-year-old comes into her first start after zipping home from last to run fourth in her most recent workout.
“She has been to Addington before and qualified, but racing under lights fresh up is a big ask,” Dunn said.
“Her workout was probably better than it looked, Tim (Williams) got her home in 26.8sec (400m) and she hit the line pretty well.”
“She is a funny one, we don’t really know how good she is.”
“But on her trackwork she should be out of maidens pretty quick.”
Play It Now starts from barrier 2 on the second row in her 1980m assignment.