Sundees Son brilliant in Ordeal defence

By Jonny Turner

Sundees Son shot back to the top of New Zealand’s trotting ranks on a big night for trainer Robert Dunn when bolting in to win his second consecutive Ordeal Trotting Cup on Friday.

The multiple group 1 winner unleashed sensational closing sectionals to leave a top class line up strung out all around the Addington track when taking out the group 3 feature for driver John Dunn.

Sundees Son’s five and a half-length demolition job ended a frustrating year for the Dunns and owners Colin and Nancy Hair.

After establishing himself as the country’s top trotter two seasons ago with a hat-trick of group 1 wins in the Anzac Cup, Rowe Cup and Harness Jewels, things went pear shaped for Sundees Son after his win in last season’s Ordeal Cup.

“He has always had a few niggling problems and we have always had to give him small breaks here and there,” Robert Dunn said.

“But last season he just wasn’t himself and we put him in the paddock.”

“He is a horse that tells us when he really is right.”

“When you drive him you can tell he is in the zone and when he is, he is just unreal.”

After making a mistake in his first run back this season, the 6yr-old trotter showed he was feeling somewhere near his best with a brilliant Rangiora trial win last week.

Robert Dunn said the credit for resurrecting Sundees Son career should go to his son and South Island stable manager, John, together with his father in law Craig Edmonds.

“Craig loves the horse and he drives him a lot in his work.”

The challenge for the Dunn team now is to keep Sundees Son at his mental and physical best while getting him fit enough for his big target – the Dominion.

“We just have to space his races now so he doesn’t have any niggling problems,” Robert Dunn said.

“And it will take some work.”

“We will have to keep racing him, we can’t wrap him up in cotton wool, the Dominion is over two miles [3200m].”

“So, we will put a plan in place to get him 100% right on November the 13th.”

Sundees Son scorched his last 800m in 55.9sec, which was the fastest last 800m of all of Friday night’s races bar one.

The fastest came when the Dunn trained Classie Brigade reeled off a scintillating 54.6sec split when holding out a late bid from runner-up Di Caprio to win the New Brighton Cup.

The 8yr-old’s victory in the 2600m group 3 feature was reward for his three excellent placings behind Self Assured this season.

Though he was hardly in doubt of missing a start, the win guaranteed Classie Brigade entry in to New Zealand’s most famed race on the second Tuesday in November.

And with that will come a chance for redemption.

“It was a great win, he has got great manners and he is a genuine New Zealand Cup chance,” Dunn said.

“He could have won it last year, he ran in to a dead end behind Spankem, he had check off his wheels and come back around Cruz Bromac again.”

“But, that is the way racing is and he is a cup winning chance this year, for sure.”

While Classie Brigade, who led easily after just 100m, has clearly got his standing start manners in check, the New Zealand Cup favourite Self Assured has not.

The red hot New Brighton Cup favourite took no part in Friday night’s pacing feature when galloping wildly at the start.

Trainer-driver Mark Purdon requested the 5yr-old be put on the unruly for future standing starts after his wayward display.

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