No excuses for Classie Brigade
By Jonny Turner
Classie Brigade will take the first step in what trainer Robert Dunn hopes will be a season of making up for lost time when he lines up in the Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington on Friday night.
Dunn is eyeing a big 12 months with the pacer, who missed most of last term through injury.
Classie Brigade was not sighted at the races for nearly nine months after his mediocre run in last year’s Maurice Holmes Vase.
The 7-year-old put a series of minor niggles behind him with a victory and hard fighting second to U May Cullect in a three start winter campaign after transferring to the Dunn stable from trainer Nigel McGrath.
Classie Brigade’s mini winter campaign could give him a slight fitness edge over his key rivals in Friday night’s race.
“He has only had a few weeks off because obviously during the course of the last year he had extended time recovering from injury,” Dunn said.
“He trialled up well and he is training super and we are looking forward to his resumption because I think he is going to have a great year.”
Though he can not comment on the state of Classie Brigade’s rivals, Dunn knows his horse will be fit and ready to win.
“There will be no excuses,” the trainer said.
“He is ready and he has had a couple of trials.”
“His first one was a bit quiet and the second one was a bit more strenuous.”
Classie Brigade looked sharp when sprinting late to win at the Rangiora trials more than two weeks ago.
He beat one of his main rivals, Hail Christian, who was not pulled out and asked to sprint in the straight.
Hail Christian trialled again at Ashburton a week later and impressed when running down Ive Already Told You to win after being asked for a full effort.
A G’s White Socks is the leading New Zealand Cup contender among Friday night’s small field, which has been reduced to five runners with the scratching of the Dunn trained Hayden’s Meddle.
However, the Greg And Nina Hope trained pacer could strip in far from his New Zealand Cup condition for the race.
A G’s White Socks goes in to the 2600m standing start without having a trial or workout ahead of his new campaign.
The 6-year-old was last sighted when winning the Rangiora Winter Classic in July.
Classie Brigade, Hail Christian and A G’s White Socks look to have a decent class edge on the remaining runners in the Maurice Holmes Vase in Storm Prince and Stick Man.
The Dunn stable made significant progress towards the New Zealand Cup carnival ahead of the Addington meeting.
New Zealand Trotter Of The Year contender, Sundees Sun, had his first public appearance of the new season when winning at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday.
The 4-year-old held out his stablemate, Woodstone, who also impressed when going down by just a neck.
Dunn also stepped New Zealand Cup hopeful Henry Hubert out at Rangiora.
The 5-year-old enjoyed a quiet trial and was not fully tested when running third.