Sundees Son coming for the Master’s crown
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Robert Dunn has long held Master Musician as the best horse he has trained, his email address even bears the pacers name, but his near 30-year reign in that pinnacle spot could be coming to an end.
Sundees Son is quickly coming after that crown and inched closer at Addington Raceway on Friday when taking out the Gr.1 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship (2600m).
It was the ninth Group One victory for the seven-year-old gelding and he once again stamped himself as the top trotter of the modern era in New Zealand.
From his ace draw, Sundees Son was crossed early by Muscle Mountain, however, driver John Dunn immediately sent his charge forward to recapture the lead.
In his customary style, Sundees Son ran his opposition into the ground, posting a new New Zealand record of 3:10.4 for the 2600m mobile trip, beating a brave Muscle Mountain by 1-3/4 lengths.
“It was a great drive by Johnny,” said Dunn, who trains in partnership with his daughter-in-law Jenna.
“You could see him looking across and he knew Ben (Hope, driver of Muscle Mountain) had the momentum and he did the right thing in not pushing Sundees Son to try and hold him.
“Luckily enough there was enough space to come out straight away. It was a perfect drive by Johnny, as per usual.
“He seems to have that ability to run most of them into the ground. When he is in that zone, he is very hard to get past.
“The horse gets all the accolades he deserves; he is just unreal.”
Sundees Son has comfortably earnt the title as the best trotter Dunn has trained, and he said he has drawn alongside two stable predecessors that have earnt champion status in his eyes.
“Master Musician and Mainland Banner were two champions in their own right and he is up there with them,” Dunn said.
“I am pretty privileged to have had three champions in our care, it has been pretty special.
“He is getting towards the top of the tree because he has had nine Group Ones and there could be another couple to come yet.”
Sundees Son will get the opportunity to add to his Group One tally when he heads north to Auckland this weekend to tackle a number of autumn feature races in the coming month.
“He is coming north on Sunday along with Five Wise Men, who I would say Craig (Edmonds, co-trainer of Five Wise Men and travelling foreman for Dunn’s stable) would be absolutely thrilled with running third, and Highgrove.
“Highgrove will target the Sires Stakes and Derby, and Sundees Son will have the National Trot, ANZAC and Rowe Cups.
“If he happened to win all three, dare I say it, I might have to put him ahead of the Master, but that is going to break my heart saying that.”