Day At The Track

Brawler wins round one

08:34 AM 05 Mar 2017 NZDT
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The Brooklyn Brawler winning at Wyndham
Photo - Bruce Stewart

Canterbury trained The Brooklyn Brawler added his name to the winners list of the harness racing time honoured Alabar New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes when he held off a late challenge from favourite The Devils Own at Wyndham yesterday.

After sitting out in the open for the first 400 metres driver John Dunn took The Brooklyn Brawler to the top.

He was pressured briefly by Alta Shelby who steamed up on the outside but Dunn retained the lead.

It appeared halfway down the straight that both Tuapeka Trick and The Devils Own would run past him but the courageous colt held on to beat The Devils Own by half a length. 

"He's lovely when he gets to the front. A big strong type who likes rolling along. He's not the sort of horse that can step the wheel and sprint a decent quarter so the draw and the tempo of the race suited him. He's still a big dummy and I thought they were going to run straight past him but he heard them coming and dug in deep. That's what you always like in a horse, " said Dunn after the race. 

Judy and Ian Neumann with John Dunn and The Brooklyn Brawler - Photo Bruce Stewart.

The winning time was 1-54.4 a fraction outside the race and track record of 1-54.3 jointly held by Le Sol and Itz Better To Win.

This was the second time trainer Robert Dunn has trained a Kindergarten winner. The first was with National Glory in 1988. 

The Brooklyn Brawler is owned by Ashburton brothers Ian and Alan Neumann.They also race horses with larger groups, including Franco Cristiano the winner of nine races who ran eighth in yesterday's Wyndham Cup.

The win was The Brooklyn Brawlers second. His first was in Auckland in December. Subsequent to that he ran nineth in a race won by his stablemate Alta Maestro before running second to Cole Porter in the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton. 

"He only flew home from Auckland two days before the Sapling Stakes - which took a wee bit out of him. He might have been a wee bit jaded a couple of days later."

Dunn says he won't go back to Auckland as Alta Maestro, who's won both his races, is the stable's main Young Gun horse.

The Neumanns have had a long association with harness racing in the South Canterbury area. Ian and Alan's parents raced horses successfully before the brothers ventured into the game.  

Chadfield was their first horse. He started three times as a two year old running fifth in the 1983 New Zealand Sapling Stakes (won by Natural Guy) before being sold to Australia.  

"That was our very first horse. Robert said it was tremendous money 'so take it because you know you'll get a good horse one day that you'll want to keep.' The next horse was Tyron Scottie," said Ian.

Tyron Scottie was by Noodlum and was bred to pace. 

"He wouldn't  pace for two or  three different trainers. An old fella called 'Stropper' White said one day that he'd have a look at the bloody thing. A month or two later he said to us, do you know a young guy called Patrick O'Reilly. We said yes and he said I might give him to him to train because I can't travel as far as I need to travel with this horse. We said you're joking and he said no he's a trotter not a pacer." 

He ended his career with twenty one trotting wins, including the Group Two National Trot in Auckland in 1987 and 1988. And he also ran second to Yankee Loch in the 1989 Group One Rowe Cup.

"He raced against the best trotters that went around I reckon."

The Neumann family have had a lot of horses with O'Reilly including Ashton (three wins) and Dorothy's Choice (4 wins). 

More recently they owned All Royal Gal which won the Group Three Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes at Alexandra Park. She was trained by Robert Dunn and has since been sold to Australia. 

Ian says The Brooklyn Brawler is their first two year old group winner and was quick to thank northern driver Maurice McKendry for some of the early advice and work he did with the colt while he was stabled in Auckland.

"I believe Maurice McKendry helped nuture him while he was in the North Island. He had trouble with teeth and didn't go that way round very well. Morrie Mac keep on telling us the horse would develop into a nice three year old so we weren't hoping for too much as a two year old."   

The Neumann family have also been great sponsors of racing. The main race in their sponsorship portfolio is the Group Three Neumann's Bandag Hambletonian Mobile Trot for two year old trotters held in their hometown of Ashburton. 

They own the Neumann Tyre group in Ashburton and also The Tyre General brands throughout the South Island. 

The Brooklyn Brawler was originally named Art Green (New Zealand Bachelor). He was purchased by Robert Dunn for $45,000 at the national sales and subsequently gained a more masculine name. The Brooklyn Brawler is the name of Steve Lombardi a professional wrestler in America. 

A two year old race at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park this Saturday is the next assignment for the Art Major colt. 


Bruce Stewart
Southern Harness racing

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