Trio give Dunn strong hand
By Jonny Turner
Robert Dunn will have all bases covered when he lines up three winning chances with different strengths to their game in the Ashburton Cup.
The inter-island horseman will start Spellbound, Franco Niven and Steel The Show in the 3200m staying test on Wednesday.
Dunn rates Steel The Show as the biggest chance of the trio given his impressive form since joining his Westwood Beach barn.
“Steel The Show would probably be our best chance,” Dunn said.
“On how he has been since he joined the stable, he would have the best chance of the three over the two miles.”
Steel The Show was slightly disappointing, though still very sound when running fourth to William Wallace in his last start in the Geraldine Cup for driver John Dunn.
Despite being a previous winner on grass, the four-year-old did not appear comfortable on the Orari track.
“He probably had a tougher run than he wanted,” Dunn said.
“When he came out Di Caprio came out in front of him and left him parked.”
“So, it was a hard run and watching that race you might have thought the track didn’t suit his gait.”
“He looked to be struggling a little bit on the grass and that is what Johnny thought afterwards.”
Steel The Show gave William Wallace a 20m headstart at Geraldine but meets him on level marks behind the 10m tapes on Wednesday.
Spellbound will step up to 3200m for the first time in her career in the Ashburton Cup.
There is confidence in the Dunn stable that the ultimate distance is within her range.
“Spellbound is a lovely mare and it is her first start over two miles,” Dunn said.
“She will go great, she is a lovely mannered mare and she will give a great account of herself."
“She has been running some great all of the way through.”
Spellbound starts on the front line, 10m ahead of her stablemates Steel The Show and Franco Niven.
Franco Niven was good behind William Wallace when fifth in the Sires Stakes Aged Pace at Kaikoura before disappointing during Cup Week.
The five-year-old was freshened and then returned with a fourth placing in the Timaru Cup, earlier this month.
“Franco Niven is on the bounce back, so he will need the run in a way because he is still coming back to his best,” Dunn said.
The Dunn stable also starts consistent trotter The Player in race 7 on Wednesday.
The five-year-old starts from the 10m mark following his deserved last start win at Timaru.
“He is just such a nice trotter, he hardly ever breaks.”
“He is such a fast beginner he will put himself in the race as usual.”
Puzzled starts in race 5 for Dunn following her eye-catching last start effort for third at Methven.
“She has come along very nicely since she has been at the beach.”
“All of her runs have been good even though she has been out of the money twice.”
“She has got home really nicely both times on the grass tracks in big fields.”
“So we are really pleased with her.”
After botching at standing start attempt at Rangiora, Somekindawonderful returns to mobile racing in race 9.
The four-year-old just needs a decent run from the outside of the second line to feature.
“We would have liked to have drawn to lead, but he is on the second line which will make it a bit difficult.”
“But he is one of those horses that loves to roll along at a really good clip.”
“If he can settle from the second line he will get home strongly.”
“And he does like Ashburton, he won very nicely there last time.”