Locharburn inspires Dunn

11:08 AM 30 Dec 2013 NZDT
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Locharburn and Dexter Dunn
Locharburn and Dexter Dunn pictured after winning the Alabar Classic.

Champion driver Dexter Dunn has labelled Locharburn "scary" heading into the $250,000 feature at Alexandra Park tomorrow.

While the 3-year-old will start favourite in the Sales Series Pace, which headlines a magic day of racing, Dunn says he is nowhere near reaching his potential.

"I think he will be 10 lengths better in six months or even next season," says the wonder reinsman.

"He might look big and strong, and he is. But he is still weak mentally and will keep getting stronger physically too.

"What he did last start was unbelievable and even in a hot field this week it will take something special to beat him."

Locharburn has always looked the real deal, with his only defeat in eight starts coming when he forced older rival Elios to pace what seemed at the time to be some amazing sectionals three weeks ago.


However, he went to a new level in the Alabar Classic last start, smashing the national 2200m age group record by clocking 2:39.2, one of only a handful of times 2:40 has been broken for the frequently run distance.

And he did that with a broken hopple carrier which must have been at least distracting, at worst potentially dangerous.

He beat group one winners Maxim, Cyclone Prince and Sky Major, all of whom will be back to take him on tomorrow as well as plenty of other guns in a field stronger than most Derbies.

Locharburn is drawn to lead and while Dunn knows that sets him up to be attacked, he believes the giant son of Christian Cullen can handle the pressure.

"If he goes as good as last time and one of them beats him in 2:39, well then they will deserve it."

Locharburn is going to be spending a lot more time with Dunn in the near future as owner-trainer Kevin Chapman is set to soon transfer him back to former trainer Cran Dalgety, whom Dunn works with, so he can take a long-planned European holiday.

That will give Dalgety two of the best sons of Christian Cullen racing as he also trains Christen Me. The latter, the early favourite for the Inter Dominion in March, starts in the $60,000 Flying Mile at Cambridge on Friday night.

"He will start there and maybe again next week then head back to Melbourne for the Ballarat and Hunter Cups," said Dunn.

While the Flying Mile is only four days away, that seems like an age at this time of the season with so much racing to digest.

And that is particularly true tomorrow as the Alexandra Park meeting would be one of the strongest in years, with the 11 races boasting huge representation from the super stables punters bet on.

Barry Purdon appears to hold the most aces, though, as he has three huge chances in the $250,000 Sales Series, as well as the potential favourite Ideal Belle in the $160,000 Sires' Stakes Championship 35 minutes earlier.

She has drawn barrier one, giving her an advantage over superstar filly Venus Serena and after pacing a 1:54 mile rate for 1700m last start Ideal Belle looks the one to beat.

Purdon will also have Pembrook Benny in the $30,000 Manukau Cup, where he clashes with Easy On The Eye, the pair having provided the quinella in the NZ Free-For-All and Franklin Cup in their last two starts.

That race also features Bettor Cover Lover, Besotted and Franco Nelson.

New Year's Eve magic
What: Premier day meeting at Alexandra Park.
When: Tomorrow, first race 12.15pm.
Who: Many of New Zealand's best 3-year-old pacers, open-class trotters and pacers and a huge support crew.
Highlights: $250,000 Sales Series Pace, $160,000 Sires' Stakes Championship, $80,000 National Trot, $30,000 Manukau Cup, $25,000 Young Guns heat.


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