The Falcon soars in Country Championship

by Jonny Turner

The Falcon did his New Zealand Cup prospects absolutely no harm when he flew along the inner to win the Listed Country Championship at Addington on Saturday night.

The four-year-old outstayed his opposition in the 3200m feature, registering the biggest win yet Geoff and James Dunn’s father and son training partnership.

The inaugural running of the Country Championship has been the focus for the Dunn camp with The Falcon which means they will now need to do some planning for the future.

Though it was just win number six for the four-year-old on Saturday night, the prospect of him progressing towards a New Zealand Cup in the spring doesn’t look a bridge too far.

“It wouldn’t be out of the question,” Geoff Dunn said.

“He is one of those horses you dream about because he keeps on improving and obviously they improve because they have a big ticker.”

“I think he’s got a good future because he is a stayer, I love stayers.”

“He has got a bit of speed too, as he has got older.”

“He is not overly mature, so I think he will be a lovely horse eventually.”

The Dunns produced Laver to win the Northern Southland Cup at Group 3 level earlier this season before collecting an even bigger purse on Saturday night.

The thrill of capturing such a big race in partnership with his son made a big win even more special for Geoff Dunn.

“It was absolutely unbelievable, it couldn’t be better than doing it with my son.”

“James is so passionate.”

“We were like chalk and cheese watching the race.”

“I was as quiet as a mouse and James was just about doing handstands.”

The Falcon was purchased at the National Yearling Sales by the Dunn stable’s long-time clients Bob and Jenny Sanford.

The couple race the pacer with Hayley Wall and the John Gould Family Trust, with Geoff Dunn also sharing in the horse’s ownership.

“They are fantastic, I have got great owners across the board actually.”

“At the moment I have got the best owners I have ever had.”

The passing lane proved to be the place to be in Saturday night’s Listed events with Midnight Dash also sprinting along the inner to win his second consecutive Sires Stakes Trotters Aged Trotters Classic.

Driver Ben Hope made a crucial decision to angle his horse towards the inside on the point of the turn which proved to be a winning move when Midnight Dash held out game runner-up in Gold Chain.

Gold Chain’s effort came on a huge night for trainer-driver Bob Butt.

Butt took out two RATTO events with Himself and Callie’s Delight, who led home a stable quinella with A Taste Of Honey.

Butt also produced The Rage for a maiden win in Saturday night’s opener.

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