Day At The Track

Dunn quickly scores first win

10:30 AM 17 Aug 2020 NZST
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Geoff and James Dunn,Harness racing
HRNZ

By Jonny Turner   

Canterbury trainer James Dunn added to the incredible mark his family has made in harness racing when scoring his first win at Oamaru yesterday.

Dunn joined his father, Geoff, in a training partnership at the start of the season and took just three races to notch his maiden victory.

Dunn admitted it was a thrill to complete the feat, but indicated he would have been proud of Lottie Moon whether her result was win, lose or draw.

“It was a good thrill, it feels a little different,” the rookie trainer said.

“But, I get pretty in to all the races we have and the horses mean a lot to me.”

Dunn has been on hand at his father’s stable since he was developing his star pacers Tiger Tara and Venus Serena in 2012.

That experience led to the new licence holder deciding a career in harness racing was for him.

“I have been involved since I was a kid, obviously being around the horses growing up.”

“Back when I was in school I was more interested in the breeding side of things.”

“I left school early and then ended up working for Geoff back in 2012.”

“About three or four months later we had Venus Serena and Tiger Tara at the trials and then it was just the most amazing thing - winning group 1s - and I kind of rode that.”

“I always said I might have to look at doing something else, but the ride kind of didn’t end and by the time it did I was too far in.”

Dunn was keen to join forces with his father earlier, but resisted that idea out of respect for him.

“I was pretty keen to start a few years ago, but it didn’t really suit.” 

“I just had to wait for those good horses to go because I hadn’t worked for him for very long and they were his horses.”

“But basically all of the horses we have now I have worked with since they were young.”

Dunn hopes to build his career on quality, rather than quantity, much like his father has.

“I don’t want to train big numbers, I would rather try to have nice horses.”

“We have 12 here at the moment with another 10 to come in.”

Chinese Whisper completed a hat-trick of wins in what was a homecoming of sorts in the feature trot at Oamaru yesterday.

Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson barely had to ask the Sundon 5yr-old for an effort as he unleashed a scintillating 56.6sec last 800m to win.

Chinese Whisper was bred in Oamaru by Williamson’s mother Bev.

The 5yr-old is raced by Williamson’s wife, Katie, and Southland farrier Brendan Franks.

Italian Lad made it two starts at Oamaru for two brilliant performances when winning yesterday’s Kurow Cup.

In September of last year the then 3yr-old drifted off a hot pace before storming home to win and smash the all-comers track record for 2000m in just his first start.

Driver Tim Williams was not going to let the same scenario play out yesterday.

He punched the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 4yr-old to the lead in the middle stages, before Italian Lad held out the favourite and runner-up Minstrel to win the 2600m handicap.

Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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