NZ Cup implications at Addington tonight
By Jonny Turner
Harness racing fans don’t have to wait until the Holmes DG or the Ashburton Flying Stakes to keep pace with the next key movements ahead of the New Zealand Cup.
Several runners in Addington’s feature pace on Thursday night have the chance to boost their form ahead of the New Zealand’s great race, including Steel The Show and Matt Damon from the Robert and Jenna Dunn barn.
The cup bound pacers will be joined by Franco Niven and A Bettor Act in the leading stable’s four strong attack on the 2600m handicap.
Steel The Show (10m) heads the Dunn team following his narrow defeat behind Cranbourne in this month’s Methven Cup.
Robert Dunn doesn’t think the horse needs to improve physically on that performance to win, but he will have to concentrate a little harder.
“He was going to win and he pulled up, he is one of those horses that we are still learning about him all the time,” Dunn said.
“He is still learning to be a racehorse, that’s the best way of putting it.”
“I said to Grant (Eynon) the owner, we might have to just drive him a little bit colder and come for one run.”
“That is just going to be until he gets a bit stronger because he is not a mature horse by any stretch of the imagination.”
Franco Niven (20m) didn’t flatter when eighth in the Methven Cup but the Dunn team think he can turn around his form quickly.
“I would forget about his run at Orari, Tim (Williams) said he went too hard early and that he was cursing himself afterwards.”
“He just began that quick and he let him roll and as we know he is not the greatest grass track horse.”
“So I would be forgetting that run, he should go much better on Thursday night.”
Matt Damon (20m) was fifth in the Methven Cup, which was a creditable effort considering he was first up over a staying trip on grass.
“First up for quite a while over 2800m on grass in a fast time, I thought it was good effort.”
A Bettor Act (10m) comes into Thursday night’s race after making up good ground at Orari after missing away in an intermediate grade race.
“I thought his run at Geraldine was super, obviously getting him away is the trouble, he has broken twice from a stand.”
“Both of his runs this time in have been good though.”
The Dunn team have Dashing Major and Above and Beyond also competing in a 2600m handicap in race 9.
Above N Beyond (15m) comes into the race fresh up after trialling well while Dashing Major (15m) ran a cracking race, charging into third at Addington first up, earlier this month.
“Dashing Major was sensational on a 54sec half (800m) with the way he found the line.”
“He is another one that is still immature, he is a very tall horse and still developing but he has got huge speed.”
“He proved that the day he came off Ragazzo Mach’s back and beat him.”
“Above N Beyond’s trial was very good, this is a very underrated horse with a lot of potential.”
“We have had shocking problems with this horse, we haven’t seen the best of him yet but he might need the run.”
The same combination that starts Steel The Show in Grant and Janine Eynon, trainer Robert and Jenna Dunn and driver John Dunn also start exciting filly Allegra, who looks extremely hard to beat in race 6.
“To beat Life’s A Beach and then see what she has gone on and done shows how good she is.”
I’m Your Huckleberry looks a top 3 chance for the Dunn team in race 10, while the trainers also line up Shanika and With Grace in race 1.