Day At The Track

Dunn stable showing strength in numbers

01:12 PM 03 Jun 2020 NZST
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Cool And Calculating,Harness racing
Stuart McCormick photo

Though he’s driven every season since 1987-88, this season's the first to have ‘trainer’ next to Aaron Dunn’s name and he’s briskly put some big numbers in his biography.

Continuing on the legacy created and then he helped foster with his dad Barry, Dunn’s had 133 starters this season and more than 23 per cent (31) have been first past the post and almost 50 per cent (65) have finished in the top three.

“We’ve got the team going pretty good,” Dunn said. “We’ve trained a few winners and it’s been enjoyable to have a good run.”

The previous season Barry had a personal high 122 starters, a number that’s only continued to balloon under Aaron and reflects the stable expanding with the input of owner and stablehand Stephen Blacker.

“It’s always been pretty much a team effort,” Aaron said. "It was Barry and Aaron Dunn, now it might be Aaron Dunn and Stevie Blacker.

“Stevie’s bought a few in New Zealand and where we had between four and eight before we are up to 14 now and a couple more could probably come in to work, and I’ve been offered a couple more. I would probably need more fencing and more help to cater for that.”

Six of that crop race this week, including three at Terang tonight at three at Tabcorp Park Melon last Monday, when the strike rate was boosted further with Cool And Calculating and Silent Major winning, and Kolovos ran second.

“It’s just disappointing that’s twice in the last few weeks I nearly got a treble and only missed out by a neck or less,” Dunn said.

“Silent Major is probably the stable star. First up he had a heart fibrillation, which hadn't been a problem before, so we had him checked. As a result I have probably been a bit easier on him in his first few runs and then drove him a bit harder on Monday.”

It certainly brought the best out of him, with Silent Major punching through a strong breeze to produce one of the more impressive wins on the card.

“He has a bit of arrogance and is a fighter, if he gets one beside him he really knuckles down,” Dunn said, with the camp turning an eye to the New Year’s Eve Vicbred Super Series Final for the three-year-old. “We have been umming and ahhing about whether to give him a spell, but he has been thriving on his work.”

Silent Major

The camp will be hoping to keep the winning going tonight, with their campaign beginning in the first when Philadelphia Freedom contests the Goodtime Lodge Pace, which streams at 5.27pm on Trots Vision.

Concession driver Xavier O’Connor will take the steer from gate four, one of three drivers with a claim in the race.

“(Philadelphia Freedom) absolutely bolted the gate at Maryborough when he won, but since then he hadn’t had the gate speed until his last start, when I gave him a good warm up,” Dunn said. “He has been a fraction disappointing and is probably getting to his mark. He’s a good each-way bet.”

While Philadelphia Freedom’s last start win at Terang was a fourth of his career, Maxactor, Dunn’s entrant in the fourth race, is still chasing his first win in his 11th start and hasn’t been done any favours with his gate seven draw over the sprint distance.

“He’s a frustrating horse, a half-brother to Nikkibadwagon. He fell on me at Terang and I have since got him settled, but when I have him settled sometimes he doesn’t go as good.

“He will take a bit of maturing, but he should have won one by now. He’s fit enough, but it’s the mental development. He has probably trialled better than he has raced. We seem to have got him a bit calmer, we are just trying to get him racing consistently and he should perform better.”

The camp then closes out in the last with three-year-old Shady Azz to start from gate five in the South West Horse Transport Pace.

“He’s come back nice enough,” Dunn said. “First up he probably needed the run, second and third up he should be really good. We will probably work forward, get position and go from there. He would be my best chance.”


Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong.

Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.

The good oil from the Vic trials circuit

BLACKBOOKER: Terang, R3 N1, Jilliby Dingo

Is a close relation to Jilliby Kung Fu (1.48.8, $529,710) and defeated three proven winners in GOODTIME STRYKER, REACTOR FACTOR and KEVIN RICHARD, so he obviously should prove hard to beat against the maiden class when he steps out onto the track. REPORT

BLACKBOOKER: Terang, R2 N2, Big Tom Bart

BIG TOM BART (Gotta Go Cullect – Karamea Dreamin 1.59.3, $37,226) is an unraced gelding for trainer Kerryn Manning. He is related to four winners including Zibibbo (1.52.9), Miss Dreamin (1.54.3) and Saucy Dreams (1.57.2) and he showed he has inherited some of that ability with a comfortable trial victory over the nicely bred gelding TEDDY RUNKLE (Rock N Roll Heaven – Magic Z Tam USA ($83,819). REPORT


HRV - Michael Howard

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