He is faced with a double edged sword but Robert Dunn is taking the positive approach tonight at Addington.
The positive is that he gets two good runs under the belts of two of his New Zealand Trotting Cup aspirants in Jivin Cullen and stable new-comer, Pure Power, but the negative is that they have to come against Christen Me.
It’s not that Dunn’s complaining, it’s more that he didn’t expect he would have to come up against him so soon.
“When we sat down to look at the programmes we targeted this race a bit because you don’t usually get the big guys there,’’ Dunn said.
“So it can be a good race to try and earn an automatic qualifier into the Cup in.
“But that’s not the case this year, so placings are going to be crucial.’’
Both runners come into the race fresh up and while Dunn admitted that Jivin Cullen might be slightly behind Pure Power in terms of fitness, he did suggest that the former may be the better place chance of the two due to his exemplary stand start manners.
“When he gets it right he will lead any of these horses out by about four or five lengths.
“That’s his biggest asset I think and it probably does mean that he should be able to get handy and give himself a chance of running a place.
“I’m really happy with him too. For the first time in quite a while I can say he is very sound and his legs are fantastic.
“That’s quite exciting in itself.’’
Son John will handle Jivin Cullen tonight, but the drive could be up for tender in the coming weeks with John a certainty to take control of Franco Nelson when he resumes racing.
For the stable’s second runner in the event, Pure Power, tonight will be just as much of a learning curve as it will a race.
Back from Australia, the gigantic pacer was sent down by Dave and Clare McGowan to Dunns and has impressed his new trainer.
“He’s very good, he had a really good trial run the other day and I’m quite happy with him.
“He’s a big powerful sort of horse and he has relished being on the beach so I would expect him to be competitive.’’
The stable’s third Cup contender, Franco Nelson, will make his first public appearance since winning at the Harness Jewels next week when he steps out at the Ashburton trials.
“He’s coming along really nicely, the aim for him is the Avon City Ford Cup later this month.’’
Franco Nelson will be one part of what promises to be an exciting trial on Tuesday with Terror To Love, Hands Christian and Smolda all touted as potential starters.
Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand