Day At The Track

Dunn confident with Cambridge starters

08:34 AM 22 Sep 2016 NZST
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The Royal Garden
Robert Dunn Trotting Stables

Four colts and four geldings will compete in the first $22,000 NRM Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge Raceway tonight, and leading trainer Robert Dunn believes it will be an even contest.

“My fella can win. It’s an even field and there are some nice horses who should make their presence felt. It will be an intriguing race,” the Canterbury and Auckland trainer said.

His ‘fella’ is Art Major colt Billy Badger – the winner of one of his 10 starts and place-getter in four others.

And although he has yet to run in the money in two starts at Cambridge, Dunn believes that could change tonight.

“He’s a handy horse and we are pleased with the way he has worked towards his second start back since his unlucky run in the Jewels Final.

“He’s the sort of horse who does everything right and from gate five he should get some cover in the running line. He resumed with a nice third at Alexandra Park last week. I think he and Johnny (Dunn) should go good again,” Dunn said.

“He’s a real tradesman. Honest as they come,” he added.

Last start winners Spring Campaign, Runrunjimmydunn, Neighlor, and Jack’s Legend will be the toughest for Billy Badger to beat. Three of the four were impressive winners at Alexandra Park, while Runrunjimmydunn came from back in the field to win well at Cambridge a fortniught ago.

Spring Campaign (1) was the most impressive of the quartet with a 1:57.1 winning mile rate and has drawn closer to the markers than Runrunjimmydunn (4) – who won with a 2:02.3 mile rate; Neighlor (6) - 1:59.6; and Jack’s Legend – 1:59.4, has drawn the widest at eight.

Here’s what five of the eight starters fetched at last year’s yearling sales:

2015 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka: Accumulator (Bettor’s Delight – Splendid Dreams) - $120,000; Runrunjimmydunn ( American Ideal - Delightful Paula) - $40,000; Neighlor (Bettor’s Delight - Braeside Star) - $52,500.

2015 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch: Spring Campaign (Courage Under Fire – Spring Thaw) - $90,000; Jack’s Legend (Bettor’s Delight – Larissa Rose) - $80,000.

The five totalled a collective price of $382,500 averaging $76,500 each.

Meanwhile Dunn believed he had an even better winning chance in the night’s other feature event – the $12,000 Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Te Awamutu Cup for R70 and faster pacers.

The Barry Purdon trained Aliante (100) will be toughest for Robbie Burns (R85) to get past, but Dunn believed his 5-year-old Live Or Die gelding is primed to go a big one.

“He beat Aliante and Jo’s Dream at the Workouts on Saturday (mile rate 2:07.7) and has come back real nice this time in. This will be his first run back since he ran sixth behind Field Marshall in the Jewels Final.

“He’s only had 23 starts and won six of them (one at Cambridge). He’s the sort of horse we have had to wait for. We have had to be patient with him and now that he’s five we are expecting good things from him,” said Dunn who works a team of 35 in Canterbury and 15 at Pukekohe.

Harness Racing Waikato, who hosts tonight’s meeting, will stage a punter’s competition with a difference at the meeting.

Harness Racing Waikato’s Business Development Manager, David Branch, said Aaron White (race 4), Mark McNamara (race 5) and Mick Guerin (race 6) would have $1,000 to bet on their respective races.

"Punting is better in a group and this week we are giving three harness racing identities $1,000 each to play with in races 3, 4, and 5 - and you can join the fun for only $10,” Branch said


Duane Ranger

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