Day At The Track

Robert Dunn has three winning chances

10:12 AM 23 Aug 2013 NZST
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Robert Dunn
Robert Dunn

Even without his two not-so-secret weapons trainer Robert Dunn is going into tonight’s Addington meeting with his trademark confidence.

And he says punters should follow him with at least three winning chances.

Dunn has come off the back of a record training season but has had to engage stand-in drivers tonight as his all-conquering sons Dexter and John are overseas.

The pair drove over 300 winners between them last season but are holidaying in Hawaii after Dexter’s Breeders Crown triumph last Sunday with Bit Of A Legend.

“They both deserve a break after last season but we still have business to take care of here,” says Dunn.

That includes the stable’s open class star Mach Banner looking for his third win in his last four starts in the main pace at Addington tonight.

After some easy winter kills he takes on more serious opponents in Four Starzzz Flash and Ohoka Texas tonight but has a huge race fitness edge over them.

But even with that advantage, Dunn says he hopes stand-in driver Gavin Smith can secure cover with Mach Banner, rather than the front-running role which has proved so successful for him in the past.

“I have been talking to John about it a lot and we are sure he is a better horse with a sit,” says Dunn.

“And in a small field this wee we should get the chance to drive him like that.

“He is flying in his work and he really should win again.”

Four Starzzz Flash hinted on occasions last season that he is a genuine New Zealand Cup contender but his second at the Ashburton trials last week suggested he will need an outing or two to clean his lung out and trim up his amble belly.

And Ohoka Texas is a prime example of a horse whose relentless racing style makes it hard to for him win when even slightly below peak fitness so Mach Banner should have the drop on them both.

Later in the night Dunn steps Kotare Mahal well up in grade but after a recent hat-trick he says the four-year-old can keep winning.

“I know this is a new level for him but he is a very good horse and I am confident he will handle the standing start so he hasn’t finished winning yet,” he offers.

And he expects a big run from Comenche in race three where he has drawn well in a poor field.

“He has been racing well in slightly better fields so he has to go close.”

The other highlight of tonight’s meeting sees group one winning trotters Sovereignty and Stylish Monarch clash in race for their new trainers.

Greg and Nina Hope are looking after the usually Cambridge-based Sovereignty until summer while former Dominion Handicap winner Stylish Monarch is now in the care of Margo Nyhan after being dogged by unsoundness.

Up against last-start winner Thanesan and the omni-present The Fiery Ginga their race provides a rare winter taste of the big time.

By Michael Guerin

Harness Racing New Zealand

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