Sundees Son's now all-time great
By Michael Guerin
Sundees Son went into Friday’s $300,000 Renwick Farms Dominion at Addington a champion and emerged an all-time great.
And he dragged the trotting gait in New Zealand along with him to a bold new era by trotting a time scarcely believable to those who follow the code.
The fact Sundees Son trotted 3:56.6 for the 3200m standing start will mean little to those who aren’t trotting zealots but to put it in perspective it was 3.9 seconds faster than his own New Zealand record for the ultimate distance.
Which means he beat the old record by over 50m. 50m superior to what any trotter has ever gone in this part of the world.
But even more remarkably only six New Zealand Cups, our premier pacing race also over 3200m from a standing, have been won in faster times and two of those were by Lazarus.
Sundees Son even went two seconds faster than Copy That paced winning the NZ Cup on Tuesday and while the latter was slowed by a cold day and controlled drive, Sundees Son’s time was one of the great performances of his gait in this part of the world, earning him a mention in the conversation with Lyell Creek, Maori’s Idol and a few others.
“I have never gone into a race more confident with him so that is why I drove him like I did” said John Dunn, whose family stable trained the quinella with Mataderos, with Bolt For Brilliance 10 lengths away in third.
Dunn’s drive was a beautiful cocktail of confidence, arrogance and daring as he could have easily led and dawdled and trotted his last 800m on the lightning fast Addington track in 55 seconds and still won.
But he wanted to sap the sprint out of second favourite Muscle Mountain and he just asked his little horse to go faster and faster and Sundees Son revelled in the challenge.
Just where Sundees Son ends up on the all-time list of our greatest trotters, which lives in the imposing shadow of Lyell Creek, may be decided over the next year.
As brutal as he was there was also raw bravery on display on Friday as Pukekohe pacer South Coast Arden refused to be beaten in the $200,000 NZ Free-For-All.
The Brent Mangos-trained pacer led easily but was attacked by Laver and left a sitting duck for Self Assured, who sprinted past him at the top of the straight but South Coast Arden rallied for a new career high.
“He was gone at the 300m but I just held on to him and asked him for one more effort. That was pretty special,” said driver Natalie Rasmussen.
South Coast Arden will return north on Tuesday to Mangos, who was trapped in Auckland and couldn’t travel south for the race and he says he would love to take the giant pacer to Sydney at the end of summer to try and win the Miracle Mile.