Sam’s Town books ticket to Country Final

By Jonny Turner

Sam’s Town booked his ticket into this week’s $100,000 Country Championship Final at Addington with a powerful front-running display in the Mount Harding Cup at Methven on Sunday.

An outstanding beginning meant the six-year-old put a massive dent in the hopes of his rivals early in the 3000m staying feature before he completely eliminated them in the home straight courtesy of a great John Dunn drive.

Sam’s Town will now be a part of a massive Robert and Jenna Dunn team that will head towards the $100,000 Country Championship Final on Saturday night.

Got You Covered, Dashing Major and Jimmy Arma will also represent the Dunn stable in the inaugural running of the event.

Sam’s Town wasn’t able to show his best behind Allamericanlover and Got You Covered in his last start in the Hororata Cup.

But after a freshen up he has bounced back at the perfect time for his owners Gavin Burgess and Jo Van der Woerd.

“He had a wee bit of a hiccup there and he was hanging but we started to remedy it about a month ago,” Burgess said.

“He went pretty good today I thought.”

A half-brother to his smart performer J D Fortune, Burgess trained Sam’s Town initially before he was sent to the Dunns’ Woodend Beach stable.

“He has always shown a bit, the beach is the reason he went out there.”

“He is a terrible horse around a track, he hangs and he is just no good around a track.”

Burgess is full of praise for the Country Championship concept which was introduced by Harness Racing New Zealand through its revamp of the racing calendar.

“You have got to appreciate how they have designed this country cup series.”

“There is nothing better than that.”

“For a horse like Sam’s Town, he is not a superstar, where would he ever get the opportunity to race for $100,000?”

“What they also need to do is take the money back from the top horses and give it to these horses so that they can stay in the country.”

Sam’s Town scored by a length and three-quarters over the favourite Carana with Boudica in third.

The top 16 qualifiers for the $100,000 Country Championship final are:

Rough And Ready

Got You Covered

Homebush Lad

Sam's Town

Allamericanlover

Artatac

American Me

Dashing Major

Johnny Mac

Jimmy Arma

The Falcon

Kiss The Girls

Memphis Tennessee

Bad Medicine

Tairlaw Toll

Macandrew Aviator

Ace Strike (E1)

Last Tango In Paris (E2)

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