Champion harness racing driver Dexter Dunn described Locharburn’s win in tonight’s $175,000 Muscara Standardbreds NZ Derby at Addington as ‘a team effort.’
“He may have been in Cran’s (Dalgety) colours tonight but Kevin Chapman has probably played a bigger part than anybody,” said Dunn of the gelding’s co-owner and former trainer.
“Kev is away overseas at the moment on a world trip but I doubt there is a happier man on earth right now,” he added.
Dunn was in awe of the Christian Cullen three-year-old after the race and said that the giant bay simply had no right to win the Group One feature.
“He was pushed off the track around the first bend and then when he finally did work up to the parked position the buggar had the audacity to over-race,” quipped Dunn.
“He has done twice as much work as any other horse in the race and he has still been too good. I’ve got no doubt that he is the best three-year-old male pacer in the country,” he added.
Locharburn downed the pace-making Isaiah (Natalie Rasmussen) by ½ a head, while Sky Major finished a further two lengths away in third. Great Northern Derby winner Tiger Tara rounded out the First4.
“I thought he was all done on the bend but when I asked him he kicked really hard,” advised Dunn. “I knew I had Isaiah at the 150 metres, but to his credit he came back at me late,” he added.
“I think my fella might have died on his run the last 100 metres but I think he had every right to, don’t you?” he laughed.
Locharburn, who was labeled as a Derby contender by Kevin Chapman after just his third start, paced the 2600 metre journey in 3-11.0. His last 800m was recorded in a brutal 54.6.
Glenys Kennard, who is the co-owner of runner-up Isaiah, was gracious in defeat, admitting that the best horse had won the race on the night.
“Locharburn was absolutely sensational and deserved to win,” said Kennard, who enjoyed success in the penultimate race with Raesawinner.
Dalgety and Dunn also enjoyed success on the undercard with Major Bubbles, Regulus, and impressive two-year-old Art Union, giving the dynamic duo four wins on the program.
By Mitchell Robertson