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This Fridays Taylor Mile is one of the most even fields you will see in a while. Won by Mossdale Connor last year, other stars to win this sort after race include, Christen Me, Terror To Love, Changeover and Elsu. While this year nobody really stands out above the others. After the scratching of Say My Name this morning the Dunn barn have Robbie Burns and Little Rascal engaged. Robbie Burns made an early mistake back on the 31st March, he lost close to 50m and was seen storming home behind Bettor Spirits in a quickly run affair. “Robbie Burns was super last start, he’s a great chance from his draw, and there isn’t much between them both” said John Dunn Little Rascal was another to make an early mistake last week and cost himself plenty of ground in a tidy field. They ran home in 55.2/27.4 off the front and he finished just in behind them after being 5L off them at the 400m. “Little Rascal’s run last week was a lot better then the form line reads, he’s been going nice races and I wouldn’t rule him out of a top 4 placing with a handy trip” said Dunn. Other Canterbury visitors Maverick (Nigel McGrath) and Field Marshal (Tim Butt) look strong chances. Maverick has been a revelation since joining Nigel McGrath’s barn; Owned by A J McGrath and breeders Ken and Anne Marie Spicer, this season Maverick has won 6 from 16, including 5 seconds. "Maverick has travelled up well, his bloods weren't right a while ago and we missed a trial so I’d expect him to improve on this weeks run. The 2700m is more his go" said McGrath. The Tim Butt trained and likely favourite Field Marshal, will look to continue his picket fence line after beating Locharburn last start. Drawn awkwardly on the second line, driver Dexter Dunn will have to at his very best to get the Art Major entire over the line in first place. Hug The Wind (Barry Purdon) and Bettor Spirits (Mike Berger) look the best of the Northerners chances, both have been in super form recently but have tough barriers to work from. While Prince Of Pops (Garlick/Telfer) and Risk (Andrew & Lyn Neal) have drawn perfectly in barriers 1 and 2 respectively. Australian My Kiwi Mate arrives on a flight late this week looking to qualify for the Harness Jewels. With Tact Tate likely to receive the Harness Jewels invite, trainer Craig Demmler will be hoping to qualify his runner through the Taylor Mile and Messenger Andrew Fitzgerald

Todays running  of the $25,000 Canterbury Country Cups Series Final at the harness racing meeting at Methven drew a great field of immediate grade pacers which made it hard to sort the runners for the betting public. Seel The Deal, Idealindiamonds and Cullect A Guinness looked the three on paper but several runners just needed an ounce of luck to become major players here. As soon as the tapes went though, the whole complexion of the Final changed. I Dealindiamonds with Matty Anderson in the bike galloped wildly and settled well back in the running while Seel The Deal and Ricky May were also slow away and also settlled well back. However Cullect A Guinness with John Dunn driving made a flyer from his 30 metre mark and had slotted into the one by one after 250 metres. Here We Go Again had made a great beginning for Craig Thornley and Craig made every post a winner as he kept up a very sharp tempo in front which resulted in no mid -race moves from those back in the field. They all started to make runs passing the 500 metres mark and the first to go was Cullect The Guinness. John Dunn sent him forward and he grabbed the lead as they turned for home and quickly put a couple of lengths on the competition which he easily held all the way up the long Methven straight. Seel The Deal was still last as they turned for home but he flashed home late  to grab second on the finishing line from Callenberg and Dexter Dunn who had sat on the back of Cullect A Guinness the whole journey. It  was a super run by Seel The Deal, who after being pushed wider on the track on the last corner, made up many lengths over the last 400 metres which was cut out off the front in a sharp 28.6. Cullect A Guinness paced the 3000 metres on the grass in 3:55.1, a mile rate of 2:06.2 with closing sectionials of 57.1 and 28.6. Today's win was the 9th from just 21 starts for Cullect A Guinness, which has now banked $85,522 for his owner Peter Higinbottom. A horse that has always struggled with soundness issues, he has rarely put in a poor run during the whole of this season. In his previous start he was a game second behind the top pacer Locharburn in that horse's New Zealand record of 3:06.5 over the 2600m. The great stayer that he is, it seems likely that Cullect A Guinness will take his place alongside stablemates Franco Nelson and Mighty Flying Mac in Saturday night's Easter Cup to be run over 3200m at Group One level. " I think we have to give him his chance against the best pacers in the Easter Cup" " His manners have improved and he is such a tough stayer that he could be a big place chance with a with a bit of luck in the running," John said. Harnesslink Media  

Last nights harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway saw the reappearance of one of the forgotten stars from the Robert Dunn barn in Say My Name. The now four year old son of Art Major was a high class two year old for the Dunn barn and looked as though he would be a major player in all the three year old classics last season. However injury followed Say My Name wherever he went and in two campaigns at three, he managed just four starts for not much return. It was at that point that it was discovered that Say My Name had a hairline fracture in his hock and he was put away for the season. Now halfway through his four year old season, Say My Name finally made his long awaited resumption in a junior drivers race at Addington last night and didn't disappoint with a performance right out of the top draw. Say My Name was allowed to settle back early  from his second row draw by driver Matt Purvis as Star Fantasy and Craig Ferguson set a hot tempo in front. Matt eased Say My Name into the running line at the 1800 metres mark and slowly worked his way around to the death seat by the 900 metres when Booster appeared out three wide and injected some real speed into the race. Star Fantasy and Say My Name eyeballed each other down the back in a quick 27.6 and just before they straightened for home Say My Name went to the front and never really looked like being run down. Nui Toc Tien who had trailed the whole way made a late dab at Say My Name but second was his lot and Usain Colt went his usual honest race in finishing third. Say My Name paced the 2600 metres in a swift 3:13.8, a mile rate of 1:59.9 with closing sectionals of 56.4 and 29 which was a great effort in the windy conditions. Back in the stable complex,John Dunn had a smile a mile wide. " I am just so relieved that he has got around in one piece." " He is such a good horse but he has had such a shocking run with injuries and setbacks." " He only had the one workout leading into tonight and that was after having twelve months on the sidelines so to win like that was just a reminder of how good he is." " I will line him up in the next two Premier nights at Addington and if he was to win those, he would be knocking on the door of entry to the Harness Jewels," John said.  Junior driver Matt Purvis was another impressed by last night's effort. " To do what he did tonight in those windy conditions was a top effort." " I just let him mooch around to the death seat in his own time but they were running along in front." " I was pretty confident going past the 800 metres that I was on the winner and he found plenty in the home straight when I asked him." "He is no where near his peak yet after twelve months off but he still gave me a great feel tonight," Matt said. The Robert Dunn barn have always held Say My Name in the highest regard and one can only hope that all their hard work in getting Say My Name back to the track is rewarded in the next few months. Harnesslink Media  

If all goes to plan, this Friday will herald the resumption in the Robert Dunn stable of the proven Group One star Franco Nelson at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway. Franco Nelson has been back with the stable for about a month and has pleased John Dunn with his progress since returning. With the fact that he had been racing against the best in Australasia before returning home - Victoria Cup and Hunter Cup - he hasn't taken a lot of work to get back to racing trim.  Friday's planned resumption is a C5-OC handicap over the 2600m. However, with only the five nominations at present, the race may struggle to get off the ground. This reflects again the dearth of opportunities for the open class horses and as a planned dress rehearsal for next week's Easter Cup is far from ideal.  Friday's race is also planned as the first start from the stable for Mighty Flying Mac that has joined the stable in the last few weeks. Formerly trained at West Melton by Cran Dalgety, it was felt that a change of scenery may be what the horse needed to return to his very best form that included a win in the Hannon Memorial back in September. John has been very happy with his progress and expects a big run this week. He too is on target for next week's Easter Cup. Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing Stables   -   Check site here

There are not many trotting races that go by these days that Motukarara harness racing trainer Craig Edmonds doesn't have a runner in and more often than nor, a serious contender.   The opening trot at the Northern Southland meeting today looked a bit of a benefit for the two pronged attack from the All Star barn but at the end of the race, neither were involved after mistakes during the running.    Blazing Under Fire grabbed an early lead for Brad Williamson and set a very steady tempo in front.   De Vito and Nathan Williamson looped the field with a lap to go to sit parked leaving Blackguard's Corner and Mark Purdon who had followed De Vito around out on a limb three wide for the rest of the race.   As they turned for home De Vito headed Blazing Under Fire and the same point Blackguard's Corner trotted roughly and broke leaving De Vito clear and looking a likely winner.   Half way up the straight the three year old Angus Hall filly Lady Angus with John Dunn in the bike trotted out of the pack at speed and went straight on past De Vito like she had just joined in and and went on for an impressive victory by a length over a game De Vito with Abraham Jones making ground late for third.   Lady Angus trotted the 2700 metres in a very smart 3:29.08 which took 3:3 seconds off the old track record for a threee year old held by Juneamy Castleton.   The closing sectionals were run in 59.6 and 29.1     Driver John Dunn was suitably impressed with the fillies run.   “She is a pretty inexperienced filly having just her fourth lifetime start today, and several runners here are pretty promising sorts so to win like she did was very encouraging.”   “She has broken 3:30 for the 2700 metres so that just makes the run even better.”   “She is such a big immature filly, that in another six months when she strengthens up she has the potential to be a very smart mare next season,” John said.   Trainer Craig Edmonds was pleasantly surprised by the win.   “She is six months away from filling out into her big frame and all I really wanted today was to see her get round safely.”   “To win the race against a field of that quality was a real bonus and bodes well for her future.”   “Pat Driscoll owns her and as a half sister to The Fiery Ginga she has a lot of residual value later on,” Craig said.   Craig Edmonds has continued to produce quality trotters over a long period now and todays winner Lady Angus looks like another one to keep his name to the fore in the trotting trainers ranks in New Zealand.   Harnesslink Media

If there has been one nagging question about the winning streak of Harriet Of Mot, it was how would the latest queen of trotting handle the rough and tumble of open class harness racing when she met the best around on equal terms.   We got the answer in no uncertain terms today during the Northern Southland Meeting at Ascot Park in Invercargill when Harriet of Mot showed real toughness to go with her trademark speed to put a field of in-form talented  trotters away with ease and in doing so she stamped herself as the big mover in the trotting ranks for next season.   Bordeaux with Ricky May in the bike had won his last five in a row and he worked to the front soon after the start and stayed there until attacked by Jag's Invasion and Nathan Williamson who grabbed the front with just over a lap to go.   Not long after that John Dunn sent Harriet Of Mot forward from back in the running line and she landed on Jag's Invasion wheel with 600 metres to go.   Nathan and Jag's Invasion seemed to put half a length on Harriet Of Mot as they straightened but once she had balanced up, Harriet Of Mot strode to the front with ease and went to the line with plenty left in the tank for another impressive victory.   Jag's Invasion stuck on gamely for second, continuing his recent return to form after shifting to the beach with Golden Gate making ground late well for third.   Harriet Of Mot trotted the 3200 metres today in 4:05.3 which broke the track record held by Springbank Sam by 1:8 seconds and the mares record held by Bonspiel Tui by 7:6 seconds.     John Dunn was more than happy with the progress Harriet Of Mot is making.   “That was another step up in class today and she handled it really well.”   “It is a big learning curve for them when they have to face those open class horses on level terms so to come through it that and still win is another big step forward.”   “We are hoping that in the spring she will have learnt the ring-craft to take on the best and so far everything is on track.”   “I would love to get a trip one day with her where she could come off the back of a horse after a soft trip as she has blinding speed if driven like that and it would be hard for any trotter going around, to beat her in those circumstances,” John said.   Today was Harriet Of Mot's fifth win in a row and her tenth from just 16 starts and took her earnings past the $77,000 mark for the Go Harness Trotting For Fun Syndicate.   The Monarchy mare is shaping up as one of the big movers on the trotting scene in New Zealand and the rising five year old seems to have all the attributes to make it to the very top.   Harnesslink Media

Noel Kennards Prodigal Seelster Summer Of Speed Final for older mares today at Ashburton Raceway only drew a field of eight runners but there were plenty of chances in an open field. The southern visitor Sheeza Shark was sent out a warm favourite on the strength of a win at Ashburton in a heat of the series but drew barrier eight due to the preferential system in place for the final. Tintinara led early for Dexter Dunn before handing up to Valor Lustre and Blair Orange who continued to roll once he found the front with New Years Jay and John Dunn sitting on his wheel.. Blair kept the tempo going from the half which made it really hard for those back in the field to make any ground. Turning for home New Years Jay went up to Valor Lustre but the big strong McArdle mare kept finding and was comfortably holding her at bay over the last 200 metres. New Years Jay fought on gamely for second after being parked the whole trip while Tintinara nabbed third up the passing lane after a lovely run in the trail the whole way. Sheeza Shark made little headway from the back,finishing a disappointing seventh. Valor Lustre cut the mile out in a sharp 1:54.3 with closing sectionals of 55.3 and 27.2 Trainer/owner Ivan Court was all smiles post race. " Once she got to the front I thought she was a big chance." " She is very tough and I thought they would have their work cut out getting past her." Ivan is now seriously thinking about lining Valor Lustre up in the New Zealand Premier Mares Championship at Addington next Friday night. " We will see how she comes through today's run first but I am leaning towards lining her up." " She is a bit under rated in some quarters but I think she will measure up," Ivan said. Ivan bred Valor Lustre from his former smart racemare Regal Lustre who won five but he thinks Valor Lustre is a lot better mare. " I think Valor Lustre is a very smart mare and think she has a few more wins in front of her yet," Ivan said. Harnesslink Media

The PGG Wrightson 3 year old Pace at Ascot Park Invercargill today only drew a field of nine second season pacers but it was choke of harness racing talent.   Every runner had won in their short careers and several had looked as they wouldn't be out of place in listed or group action.   Warm public elect American Tart had drawn beautifully at barrier one for the 2200 metres event and driver John Dunn wasted no time in shooting the filly to a clear lead.   John allowed the filly to bowl along at a really good clip throughout the race and it was obvious a long way out that she had them all in trouble.   John gave her head as they turned in and she ran away and hid, coasting down to the line 2 ¾ lengths to the good of a game Ultimate Desire with Scarlett Falcon battling on well for third after trailing American Tart the whole way.   American Tart paced the 2200 metres in a brilliant 2:39.9, a  mile rate of 1:56.9 with closing sectionals of 55.5 and 27.4   John Dunn couldn't hide his delight when talking to Harnesslink post race.   “That is only her fifth time off the place in her life and to do that to a smart field like the one today is a great effort.”   “We qualified her first up at two and then turned her out and she only had a couple of trials before winning at Marlborough last weekend.”   “To travel all the way down here and not miss a beat is a big plus going forward.”   “She hasn't left an oat with all the travelling,” John said.   Plans for the big free going filly are firming up short term but the longer term is still less clear.   “She is eligible for the Futurity but needed to have a couple of starts down here to remain eligible so that was part of the reason for her being here today.”   “She is just such a laid back big filly and has a great attitude.”   “I think she will measure up to the very best fillies later on but we won't rush her at this stage, “ John said.   It is not very often that the three year fillies break 2:40 for 2200 metres and to do so at just your second lifetime start and with plenty in reserve stamps American Tart as a filly of the highest class.   American Tart     Harnesslink Media

The annual summer meets at both Nelson and Marlborough have often proved happy hunting grounds for the Robert Dunn harness racing stable. A four win bag to Robert Dunn as a trainer and John Dunn as a driver has definitely started the two day Marlborough Harness Racing Club meeting on a superb note. There was a lot of confidence about 3yr old American Ideal filly American Tart's chances today on debut and she never looked out of second gear, despatching a handy field of maidens with ease. The winner of a trial and a workout recently, John rated American Tart as his best of the day and he drove her accordingly. Beaten for the early lead, she was given rein to go to the front at the 1900m. Once having assumed the front she was allowed to roll along, setting a strong tempo. At the 1400m, brother Dexter driving Runaway Star headed forward to find the breeze and thereafter, there were no further moves in the race. At the 400m, those two runners drew about three lengths clear of the field and at the 200m were locked together in battle. However, John was just kidding on the long striding filly and as soon as he went for her the response was instant, and at the line they were going away by an ever increasing two and a half lengths in a smart 2.49.2 for the 2300m journey. The final sectionals cut out in 800m 56.6 and 400m 28.1 suggest that this is a filly with a fair bit of class. American Tart is the first foal to race out of Redheadedwildflower, a one win mare raced out of the stable previously. She is raced by her breeder Rob Courtney, along with John and Peter McAlister. She will miss the second day of the meeting, instead being reserved for Invercargill Cup Day next Saturday. For a horse that took until his 7th start to win a race, Kotare Yael has now well and truly hit his straps, completing a hatrick of wins today at start nine of his career and taking his earnings to over the $17,000 mark. Raced by his breeders Tony and Gay Abell and Kotare Downs, he showed some real ticker to get home today after being obliged to race parked for the last 1300m of the race, outside the pacemaker Bella Jones. While vulnerable to those coming off his back John never panicked sitting one out and his charge appeared to relax beautifully and was on a tight rein turning for home. He immediately mastered Bella Jones once in the straight and after putting a two length buffer on the field at the 200m fought tenaciously to win by a neck over Nek Time, with a further half neck back to Chip Ganassi in third. The full journey was run in 2.50.9 and with the final sectionals cut out in 800m 57.2 and 400m 27.9, it was hard for those coming from the back to make an impression. Kotare Yael will now tackle a C2 - C2 assignment on the second day and while he is fast climbing the classes, he is sure to give a good account again from a favourable draw. Dalness Xchange was big on both days at Nelson and again put in a top effort today against C2 - C3 company. After settling midfield early on from her second line draw, she was awakwardly placed four back on the markers at the 1300m. However, with a strong pace set up front by Expressive Victor, that was strongly attended down the back by favourite Innocent Artist, the gaps always looked likely to come. At the 400m John was able to extricate from a tight spot and peeled four wide coming into the straight. While he still had a bit of work to reel in the leaders, once she flattened out, the Changeover 4yr old stormed home over the top of her opposition and at the line was a comfortable winner by one and a quarter lengths in a smart 2.48.2 for the 2300m.   Today's win was the third in an eight start career and she is doing a superb job for Dave and Mrs Heather King. She will now deservedly take her place in the cup on Sunday and while this is a huge step up in company, she does appear the type of mare that can make the necessary improvement. The final of the four stable winners for the day was good three year old Bite The Bullet. After a nice win at Nelson and then a hard fought second on day two he was confidently expected to deliver today. However, the bad luck that he has with the draws continued and he had to be good to come from the back to deliver win two of his career. John allowed the Mach Three 3yr old the chance to settle early and he was well back with a lap to go as second favourite Crackabella dominated up top. He made his move down the back straight with about 800m to go and was level pegging with Crackabella from the 400m. Turning in and the two settled down for a good fight. It was only from the 100m that Bite The Bullet gained the ascendancy and went to the line a good winner by three quarters of a length in 2.51.5 for the 2300m over Crackabella, with Coringa Delight a fast finishing third. Bite The Bullet will line up in C1 company again on day two, after a free win today. The bad luck with the draw continues after drawing eight. Other top efforts by stable runners today included: Angel Of Destiny - a nice third on debut  Graduate Under Fire and Joey Maguire - 3rd and 4th in the day's feature the cup prelude Meanwhile Dexter also got a big piece of the action today with three wins - Alpha Rock and Kompressor for the Cran Dalgety stable and Santorini Sunset for Kevin Townley in the day's feature trot. Dexter now goes to 97 in the drivers' premiership, with John a clear second on 54 wins. The Purdon/Rasmussen team hold a seven win lead in the trainers premiership over Robert Robert Dunn Racing Stables  -  Check site here

Harness racing trainer Robert Dunn and son John Dunn have well and truly dominated the first day of the Nelson Harness Racing Clubs summer meeting at Nelson today. Four wins early in the meeting with a couple of seconds later in the day showed the Dunn barn were on track to have another big day on Sunday. Kotare Yael set the ball rolling in race 2 with a tough win in which John drove him aggressively right from the start and got him home for a narrow but overdue victory. The same went for race three where high class three year old Bite The Bullet was way too strong even after starting from barrier nine at the gate, clearing out in the straight. John then rattled off his third winner in three races when Kotare Kasai upset them with an inch perfect drive which saw the mare get home by just a nose. Even after John and Robert had won three in a row, they were let go again a couple of races later when Daleness Xchange bolted in at eleven to one in race six. A second with Joey Maguire with Ross Haughton in the bike was followed by a smart second by Grauate Under Fire with John on board in the Nelson Cup Prelude behind the very talented Rocker Band who is not backing up on Sunday which brings Graduate Under Fire right into line for the Nelson Cup. John Dunn was happy with todays run. "He's has stuck on really well today and I was very happy with the run. "If he steps away on Sunday and gets a run like he did today, I think he is a big winning chance in the Cup." "He always gives his best as he is so honest which always makes him a chance," John said. The Greg and Nina Hope training partnership also won a couple on the day along with three placings which suggests that the Dunn partnership won't have it all its own way on Sunday. Harnesslink Media  

We have become so accustomed to Bettor's Delight dominating our harness racing age group classics that it comes as a bit of a surprise when he was completely shut out of the placings in a Young Guns heat at Alexandra Park this afternoon. Pacing Major from the All Stars barn was all the rage with punters, going out at the prohibitive odds of $1:30 John Dunn sent the well performed Billy Badger forward from barrier three to claim the early lead and kept up a steady tempo early. Natalie Rasmussen settled Pacing Major in the one by one early before moving to the parked position with 1100 metres to go. These two went together without getting serious until 400 metres from home where the speed really went on. Billy Badger had a length to spare with 100 metres to go but Pacing Major was taking ground off him the whole time but was still half a head in arrears at the line. Triple Play was 5 3/4 lengths away in third place The 1700 metres was cut out in a very quick 2:03.9, a mile rate of 1:57.3 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and the last 400 metres in a very quick 26.2 The Robert Dunn trained Billy Badger is bred to be well above average. He is by leading sire Art Major and is the first foal of the Badlands Hanover mare Lady Antebellum who is a daughter of the former outstanding Ann Other Porsche who took a mark of 1:51.6 in North America on the way to earning $791,575 Art Major has had to live in the shadow of Bettor's Delight in the last few years but in Billy Badger and Pacing Major, he looks to have a couple of high class juveniles capable of upsetting the Bettor's Delight juggernaut. Harnesslink Media

A lot of of the harness racing pundits looking at today's Westport Cup were convinced that those off the back marks would find it difficult to win the race due to the leader bias of the Paterson Park track.   It is a good thing Cullect A Guinness can't read as the lone back marker on 30 metres turned in an outstanding staying performance to take this years Westport Cup.   John Dunn settled the big son of Gotta Go Cullect well back in the field early before getting on the three wide line and working himself into the one by one with just over a lap to run.   Coming out on the point of the turn, Cullect A Guinness dashed clear and while a couple closed late, he never looking in danger of being beaten.   Cullect A Guinness paced the 3200 metres on grass in 4:11.8 with closing sectionals of 61.3 and 29.5.   It was Cullect A Guinness's seventh win at just his fourteenth start and took his earnings over the $50,000 mark.   John Dunn was impressed with the performance.   “This horse never fails to impress this time in.”   “He won his first race two and a half years ago but then broke down.”   “We gave him plenty of time to get over his problems but when we brought him back in he looked terrible so we turned him out again.”   “This time in he has just gone from strength to strength”   “I got a nice drag around to get handy but when I pulled him out he just went straight past them.”   “I may have been a bit hard on him in the straight as he was running away from them at the line”   “He has just absolutely bolted in,” John said.   One thing that has been noticeable all this campaign has been the tendancy of Cullect A Guinness to get his head around at right angles during the running.   “He won't accept any gear to straighten him up so it is just something you have to put up with,” John said.   It is Murphy's law that as soon a stallion dies or is withdrawn from service that his progency excel on the track.   With Gotta Go Cullect back in work with Jay Abernethy, it shouldn't be a surprise that Cullect A Guinness is on the rampage through the grades.   Cullect A Guinness     Harnesslink Media

Harness racing owner Rob Paterson has had a lot of success over the years from Group 1 level down to maiden wins and the run shows no sign of stopping yet.   Habibti has been his biggest winner and after a trial win in Melbourne last week she is about to start another Australian campaign.   Lothario has been going great guns up north and BD Love is due to fire up again.   Today Rob was at Westport with half a dozen friends with whom he races the four year old Bettor's Delight gelding Bettor Be Smooth.   Bob bred Bettor Be Smooth from the race winning Presidential Ball mare Smooth Moon and intrusted its early education to young North Canterbury trainer Bob Butt.   “ Bob rang me up one day and told me he really liked Bettor Be Smooth.”   “So I thought I would bring half a dozen of my friends into the ownership so I sold them 40% of  the horse.   “ He was going good 12 months ago but was just a bit immature so we put him aside for a good break,” Rob told Harnesslink today.   Bettor Be Smooth had a long build up this season with the plan being to line up on the first day of the Westport Xmas meeting and today the plan came to fruition.   After being settled three back in the running line by driver John Dunn, Bettor Be Smooth swept to the front with just over a lap to run.   Attacked for most of the last lap by Patrick Bee, Bettor Be Smooth was a sitting duck as he turned for home in front.   Briefly headed by Paddy McCole late in the piece, Bettor Be Smooth fought back courageously for a half head win.   Bettor Be Smooth paced the 2600 metres on the grass in 3:22.1 with closing sectionals of 62.2 and 30.1   Rob was thrilled with run.   “He really showed he has got plenty of bottom to him.”   “To be attacked like that for the last lap and then to fight back when headed was a huge effort.”   “I have got a half brother by Art Major at home that I have a lot of time for and the mare is back in foal to Art Major, so things are looking good,” Rob said.   Rob has had a great run over the last few years and it doesn't look like it is coming to an end anytime soon.   Bettor Be Smooth     Harnesslink Media

A profitable start to the summer got a whole let better for Cullect A Guinness on Sunday afternoon at Rangiora Raceway as he dominated a very good field to win the Summer Cup by an impressive five and a half lengths. Backed into favourite for today's cup over the 2600m on the grass, Cullect A Guinness made a great beginning from his 10m handicap and was soon up disputing the pace as they headed down the straight for the first time. After a brief tussle for the lead with Jerry Garcia he was able to take the front with just under a lap to go and then dominated the race from the top as he had done at Oamaru a fortnight ago. Going down the back straight he faced some fresh challenges from first Royal Counsel and then Star Of Dionysis, but he always looked to be travelling well within himself. Turning for home, all chasers appeared flat and when driver John Dunn asked him for the supreme effort at the 200m, the response was instant. The further he went, the bigger the gap became. Star Of Dionysis for tenaciously for his second placing, as too did Royal Counsel for third. Stablemates The Royal Garden (5th) and Mach Cruiser (8th), were both seen running home with purpose in the straight. Today's win was the 6th from just 13 starts for the Gotta Go Cullect 5yr old. With a further five placings also, he is doing a tremendous job for his owner/breeder, Peter Higinbottom, having banked just under $40,000. There are few more genuine pacers going around in the Canterbury region at the moment than this fellow, which has graduated to C5 with today's win, meaning that a coast campaign would seem unlikely, but will be something that Robert and John will be discussing. Well done to Peter, John and Robert on a great win, which tops off a very good weekend for the Robert Dunn stable with the four wins overall. Robert Dunn Racing Stables  -  Check site here

John Dunn is hoping the return of two potential open class pacers will offset the loss of No Doctor Needed. No Doctor Needed, who ran ninth in the New Zealand Trotting Cup for Dunn's father Robert earlier this month, has been switched to the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick barn in Papakura for his future racing. But providing they can stay sound, two replacements are waiting in the wings for the Dunn stable. Elios made a long awaited return at the North Canterbury workouts at Rangiora  Raceway on Wednesday in his first outing since failing badly in last season's Auckland Cup. A Group I winner in the 2014 Messenger when he beat the likes of Arden Rooney, Franco Nelson, Mossdale Conner and Besotted, Elios got so ill from a virus late last season there were no guarantees of him making it back to the races. Additional issues along the way have not helped his cause. Elios' first outing was more than satisfactory and the Dunns will be hopefully of a similar performance when Wesley Silcox makes his comeback from injury at Saturday's workouts at Pukekohe. A winner of 10 from 28 and more than $220,000 in stakes, Elios ran second to Bay Emerald by half a length in a 2:00.1 mile rate for the 2000m but made up late ground sharply from the back of the six horse field. In context, Bay Emerald has only won one from 36 but Dunn was happy to see the lightly raced 6-year-old get through the run safely. He said they would be looking after Elios in the short term and will let him guide them when he is ready to step back up. "I've said to the owners that we are not making any strong plans at this stage, we will just get through another couple of trials and see where we are at then." A winner of eight from 12, Wesley Silcox won his last three starts on the trot before pulling up lame with a tendon injury back in March. "He might not have been a horse that attracted a lot of hype but he always seemed to step up and get the job done," Dunn said. At this stage there are no plans for a race day return with Wesley Silcox. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

While Art Critic had little luck going into Fridays big race for the fillies and mares at Addington Raceway, there was a real confidence in the camp when she came up with the ace draw for the 1950m. She was able to leave the gate on terms with the field, but John Dunn made an early call to hand up the lead to second favourite Lovetodream. With 1400m to go, Dexter Dunn came with a searching run with Lightning Mach to take the lead, but there was no panic from John who realised with the hot pace the gaps would come. In what was a race defining move, he was able to push off the rail at the 850m, shunting breeze horse Tintinara wider and allowing Art Critic to apply pressure to the leader. As they turned for home she quickly surged to the front and under John's urgings, she went to the line strongly to win by a length in 2.20.7 for the 1950m, a mile rate of 1.56, home in 800m 56.5 and 400m 29.1. Owned by Studholme Bloodstock and the McDonald Racing Syndicate Limited, Art Critic has always looked a mare headed for better things. However, in her first three starts this campaign she was bereft of any real luck. That was until yesterday when having made her own luck she was able to head home a very good field, with New Years Jay rattling home from the back for second and Happy Heidi putting in one of her late runs for third. Yesterday's win was the 4th from 19 starts for the lighly raced Art Major mare. She appeals as a horse that will only get better with age and it will be no surprise to see her tackling the top mares races at some point. Robert Dunn Racing Stables   -   Check site here

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