Day At The Track

Dunn grabs two Southland features

10:40 AM 10 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Spellbound,Harness racing
Spellbound (2) hanging on
Photo Bruce Stewart

The Robert Dunn filly Spellbound continued on her winning way yesterday in the Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic but she was pressured at the finish by first starter Stylish Memphis.

Spellbound lead from the start and was allowed to get away with some soft sectionals. Stylish Memphis, a half-sister to the 2016 winner Delightful Memphis, got within a head of the winner but the post came up just in time for Spellbound.

“That horse (Stylish Memphis) had trialled well so it wasn’t a surprise. It was a stroll around and a sprint up the straight. Halfway down the straight I was confident. The last wee bit I wasn’t” said driver John Dunn whose father Robert trains Spellbound.

She was sold at the 2018 Sale of the Stars for $17,000 as Major Return, but was renamed Spellbound. The the Witches Of Westview Syndicate share in the ownership of the Art Major filly with the Westview Racing Number 19 Syndicate.The syndicates have some Southlanders as members, including Bruce Sutherland, local breeder Mark O’Connor; his brother Stephen O’Connor, Mike Pero Real Estate Agent Daryl Spence and the Manager of McCallum’s Dry Cleaning Paul Harrington.


The winning syndicating watching her come into the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart.


The official group photo - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

She’s out of the Armbro Operative mare Return To Gold which won four races and it's the filly’s third win in as many starts. It was the second time father and son have won this race. Yankee Dream won the classic in 2009.

“Right from day dot she showed a bit. She’s well gaited and has good manners and that’s why we’ve had a go at these early two year old races. She’ll have a wee break now and we’ll look at a Sires Stakes Heat.”

Dunn’s second win came in the $40,000 Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup with Henry Hubert.

After bungling the start Henry Hubert finally settled into his gait with only favourite Funatthebeach behind him.

Royal Bengal lead early before Smokin By took over. Alta Maestro was then taken to the front ensuring there was plenty of early pace in the 2700 metre feature.

Smokin By then popped out of the trail and took up the running again with 1600 metres to go. With a lap to run the one off line started to form lead by Tact Maggie, Eamon Maguire, AG’s White Socks and Henry Hubert got onto the train. Funathebeach took up the inside running line. With 600 metres to run Henry Hubert was last and nothing in front was wanting to move. So in what turned out to be the winning of the race Dunn let Henry Hubert run and he showed sharp speed to move within striking distance of a battling Smokin By and Tact Maggie. Dunn pinched a bit of a break at the top of the straight and held on to win.


In a driving finish Henry Hubert and John Dunn on the inside hang on to beat Ricky May and A G's White Socks - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 “I couldn’t really get him going early in the race after missing away so I had to wait for the 600. He felt super once he got pacing and to hold off A G’s White Socks was a good effort,” he said.

A G’s White Socks got within a head of Henry Hubert with Funatthebeach a further three and a quarter lengths back in third.

Dunn says the horse will go home now and head towards the Easter Cup.

“We just have to get that standing start ironed out. We’re also looking at perhaps the Taylor Mile and The Messenger then the Jewels.”

The winning time was 3-20.6, 0.5 outside the race record held by Isaiah.

The win was the four year old's fourth this season and puts him in the top five for the end of season Harness Jewels.

 

Bruce Stewart

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