Trotting mares take centre stage at Cambridge

By Brigette Solomon

The Group 3 Dunstan Waikato Trotting Breeders Stakes and the first race of the Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial Series for Junior Drivers will highlight today's action at Cambridge.

The Dunstan Waikato Trotting Breeders Stakes looks set to be a hot contest with a capacity field of quality mares featuring recent Group race winning performers Sacred Mountain, Resolve, and Sunnys Sister.

Trained by Robert and Jenna Dunn, Sunnys Sister is a winner of her past four starts including the New Zealand Trotting Oaks and Derby. After ticking off wins on both days of Nelson Harness Racing Club’s two day meeting earlier in the month, the mare continued on to the Dunn’s Pukekohe stable.

“She’s had a bit of an easy time to freshen her since Nelson but travelled up and settled in well,” says regular driver John Dunn, “it won’t be an easy job starting off 30 metres though and she’ll have some work to do.”

“She will remain up here for the next few months with the Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes on the 16th February and the feature races in the Autumn,” says Dunn.

Starting off a 40 metre handicap, both Sacred Mountain and Resolve will have plenty of work to do. Both mares have recently won at Group 3 level - Sacred Mountain the Cambridge Flying Stakes and Resolve the Greenlane Cup, with the latter also being the winner of this race last year with a 40 metre handicap.

John Dickie, who trains Resolve from his Clevedon base, is pragmatic about his mare's chances

“I was happy with her last fast work but it’s a big ask to chase them down off 40 metres and there is some good form amongst the field.”

The first heat of the Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial Series for 2024 gets underway in Race 4.

In its third year the series has gained recognition with the series now eagerly anticipated amongst Junior Drivers. Amongst the eight horse field are last start winners God Dam and Lou Baby, the latter winning by a whopping 17 lengths at Cambridge on the 19th January. Lou Baby will be driven by Monika Ranger in the event.

“He won well last start and it’s great going into the series with a good drive,” says Ranger, “all going to plan I will have Caulfield for David Butcher in the heats at Hawera next weekend and he’s a consistent performer who should go well.”

Revell Douglas was a lifelong participant and supporter of the harness racing industry who sadly passed away after rescuing his children in an incident at Karioitahi Beach. Hygain and Don Douglas, Revell’s father, founded the series as a fitting memorial for Revell who was a much loved family member, employee and friend to many in the wider racing community.

The series runs over seven race meetings in the North and South Islands with drivers accumulating points over the series. The winner receives a scholarship from series sponsor Hygain. The next heats will be held at Hawera on February 2 and 4 before heading south to Methven on the 11th, Rangiora on the 17th, and Cromwell on the 23rd and 25th.



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