Day At The Track

Dunn stunned with Venus Serena draw

02:38 PM 12 Dec 2014 NZDT
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West Melton trainer Geoff Dunn Venus Serena and John Dunn
West Melton trainer Geoff Dunn
Venus Serena and John Dunn

Geoff Dunn has been left shaking his head about the draw for tonight’s Alexandra Park return for Venus Serena.

Because he is stunned how his champion three-year-old filly of last season could draw worse than Adore Me under the preferential conditions.

Venus Serena will start from the outside of the front line in the $30,000 mares race, with Adore Me at three on the second line.

That is based on the track grid, which means the outside of the second line is rated the worst draw.

“I doesn’t make sense to me, I reckon I have had about 20 calls about it,” says Dunn.

“Any chance we had of beating her is gone now.”

But Dunn is confident Venus Serena has recovered from a shocking season debut when she raced well below her best, even allowing for the incredible time posted in her comeback race on Cup Day.

She convinced Dunn she was back on track with a strong second at the Rangiora workouts last week. The only problem is, that second was to Adore Me.

“I am not saying we would have beaten Adore Me this week anyway, not the way she is racing,” he says.

“But drawing worse than her has all but ended that hope. I will be happy with second.”

So too will most if not all of Adore Me’s rival’s trainers tonight as they all count down to next week’s $100,000 Rosslands Queen Of Hearts, where all would also be happy to draw one, Adore Me two and gets dragged into a lucrative group one second.

Barring bad luck it is impossible to see the great mare beaten tonight or any time in the next two months racing only her own sex, even allowing for the fact Venus Serena, Helena Jet and a few others are very serious mares.

Adore Me’s stablemates will dominate the totes on plenty of other races tonight as the intensity of the Christmas meeting raises a few notches.

Petite One (race 10) staged a huge recovery after an early gallop last week and meets an easier field so if she trots, she wins.

Paramount Queen and Hot Pants will have plenty of supporters in race eight, even though they meet smarts locals in Lucky Fortune and San Diego Love.

But it is the Sires’ Stakes fillies heat which could provide the brightest fireworks of the night as the leading stable have Supersonic Miss and Linda Lovegrace against some very sharp locals.

As good as the Purdon-Rasmussen pair are, Katy Perry is back from winning the Breeders Crown and Democrat Party from injury, both having the stamp of top class fillies .

With the likes of The Orange Agent in the race before that, the three-year-old fillies could even provide the most competitive racing of the premier meetings ahead.

By Michael Guerin

Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

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