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John Dunn knows American Tart may need every favour she can muster to claim group one glory at Addington tonight but believes she has already got the biggest one. The speedster mare is drawn wide on the front line in the $100,000 Breeders Stakes and while that doesn't sound ideal, driver Dunn sees it as a major tactical advantage over his three main rivals. Because American Tart has high gate speed and Dunn thinks that gives him a chance to at least get in front of Bonnie Joan, Better B Amazed and Utmost Delight, all of whom are drawn the second line. "She gets her chance now because even though she is wide I reckon I can stay in front of those other good mares," said Dunn. "And the way she went last start then she can probably win. But she is going to need nothing to go wrong because Bonnie Joan was super last start too." The latter clearly outpointed American Tart two weeks after sitting parked, with Utmost Delight a booming late third in the same race. So if American Tart is made to burn early by those inside her to get to the markers tonight, then Bonnie Joan would be favoured to beat her again. Better B Amazed worked too hard last start so might enjoy her second line draw tonight and ran third in this race last year to two Jewels winners in The Orange Agent and Piccadilly Princess so is good enough to win if the other favourites work too hard. Dunn warns punters to expect improvement from Yagunnakissmeornot, the trotting mare he unofficially co-trains with his father Robert, in the opening race at Alexandra Park tonight. "She badly needed her run last week but still made good ground in a fast last 800m," says Dunn. Back to her favourite 1700m distance and off the front line in a race where her fellow open class opponents are not at their peak, the sit-sprint specialist appeals tonight. Meanwhile, the Kiwis almost all have great draws at Menangle tomorrow night as some of our biggest pacing names try to qualify for Sydney harness racing's richest night. Lazarus (drawn the ace) and Heaven Rocks (unruly) contest preludes of the Miracle Mile, where if they both race up to anything like their best they should confirm their invites to next week's A$750,000 Miracle Mile. Their stablemates All U Need Is Faith, drawn the ace in a weakish heat of the NSW Derby and The Devils Own, also drawn the ace in a stronger heat should cruise through to next week's Derby. But Our Bare Knuckle, who was below peak fitness when beaten last week, has a wide draw and will probably be driven to qualify for the final in her Oaks heat. The barrier draw for the Miracle Mile will be held around 3pm NZ time on Sunday. Michael Guerin

Henry Hubert didn't like his one draw at Wyndham today (Sunday). After being well off the gate when it dispatched in the Nuggets Final, starter Ben Ward deemed that the horse behind Henry Hubert - Franco Rebel, was disadvantaged at the start and he called a false start. Henry Hubert was then sent to the outside of the second row for the re-run. But at the end of the day it didn't matter. Driver John Dunn settled the three year old last after the early rush with Vin Scully taking up the early lead. At the 1000 metre mark Dunn followed up a couple of improving horses and was putting the pressure on Vin Scully at the 800 metres. At the 600 metres Henry Hubert had taken the lead and there he stayed beating Vin Scully by two and a quarter lengths.  Easy winner in the rain - Henry Hubert - Photo Bruce Stewart. "The last two weeks he's drawn one which was probably the worst I could have drawn. He's been really good from outside the front line. There's no need for it (his behaviour) but he'll come to it," said Dunn. The Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes in April on Diamonds Day is certainly one of the Bettor's Delight colt's late season aims.  "He's got the ability but his manners and his gate manners would need to improve for us to bring him down. But that's definitely the aim. He went massive in the Sires Stakes Consolation getting home in the sectionals like he did."  Dunn was full of praise for the Southern Harness scene, complimenting the area on it's various series. "We have Pitch Black trained by father in-law (Craig Edmonds with his daughter Aimee) and Borntobeastar which we hope to bring down for the Southland Trotting Oaks."  The $20,000 feature will be held at the Northern Southland Trotting Club's feature day on Saturday 10th March. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Driver John Dunn had a day to remember when he drove six winners on the ten race card at the Blenheim harness racing meeting yesterday. Dunn drove Loveyoutodoit to win the first race of the day, then won the last five races for his six win total. His other winners were Summer Wealth, Tyron Bettor's Ella, Diamonds N Cash, Lovetodream and Franco Saxon. John's father Robert trained five of the six winners, taking him to within four wins from Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who currently lead in the national trainers premiership. The Marlborough Cup was won by the Dunn trained mare Lovetodream (Bettor's Delight - Sue Dreamer) who finished powerfully from midfield to beat Franco Tristan by a half a length. Earlier in the day the Ben Waldron trained trotter One Over Dover easily won his third race in a row flying home from midfield to easily account for a large field in the R40 & faster trot. The meeting was notable for running all the races on the grass track, where traditionally they have been on the grit surface. The large fields and great racing suggest this idea was a success and might be a good option for future meetings. Lovetodream winning the Marlborough Cup   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing trainer Colin DeFilippi edged closer to 2000 winners when Izmok won easily at Addington last night. Izmok (Muscles Yankee - Belle Galleon) is a half-brother to brilliant trotter Stent who won thirty races for DeFilippi and owner Trevor Casey. Last night Izmok had a good sit on the outer and finished best when produced wide in the straight. He trotted the mobile 1950m race in a mile rate of 2-04.6 with closing splits of 61.7 and 30.7. Colin was confident Izmok would go a good race but said before the race, "he has missed some work because of the weather and was no certainty but he should go a nice race all the same".  DeFilippi is now sitting on 1999 wins after the win of Izmok and will surely reach the milestone of 2000 in the coming weeks if Izmok can carry on his winning way. Eden Franco put up a good stayers run later in the evening when winning for trainer Steven McRae. Driven by Craig Thornley, Eden Franco (Christian Cullen - Elisit Franco) led from the start and set up a torrid tempo in front. She was attacked by Sheree Tomlinson on Bet On A Rascal for the last 1000m but staved that horse off and went on to win in a quick 2-00.0 mile rate for the 2600m stand. The overall time was for the race was 3-14.0 with a closing 800m in 57.9 and 400m in 29.5 seconds Leigh Major caused a major headache for the TAB bookmakers when she pulled off a betting coup in the junior drivers mares race. Stephen Richardson from the TAB advised Harnesslink that Leigh Major had opened at $43.00 on the fixed odds win market the night before and there had been steady and late money for her right up until the race started.   Leigh Major closed at $10.00 on the final field win market and came from outside the second line to win narrowly by a nose beating another S.McRae trained runner in Tara Tutaia. Earlier in the night Black Art also had the punters cheering, dropping in from an opening quote of $6.00 the night before to close a clear favourite at $2.70 on the fixed odds win market. John Dunn the driver off Black Art had to survive an enquiry for possible breach of the push out rule with 1600m to go, but survived and gave young trainer Andrew Fitzgerald his first training win.   IZMOK winning at Addington Harnesslink Media

Young North Island harness racing participants will now have the opportunity to up-skill themselves thanks to the financial support of Croon Bloodstock and the NZ Equine Education Trust. Spokesperson, Anne Phillips, termed the concept as an "exciting one" for the future of harness racing in the North Island. She said the new industry initiative, known as the 'Croon Bloodstock Award' will enable North Island harness racing participants from all sectors of the industry to apply to the award fund for grants towards up-skilling. "The successful candidates will be people with a long-term future in harness racing, and who will use their expanded knowledge or experience to add value to our industry. "As well as targeting stud staff, drivers and trainers for stable or stud work experience opportunities, the grants will also be available to people who want to learn more about running a small business, not only to assist in their current positions but also to up-skill them to follow career paths in club/industry administration. A way to keep successful and talented young people in our industry," Phillips said. She said courses such as farrier, dentistry, computer skills and communication/media were just some options. The Award fund will be administered by New Zealand Equine Education Trust (NZEET), which has charitable trust status. To kick start 2017, the Croon Bloodstock Award Sub-Committee of NZEET Board Trustee; myself, sponsor; Rod Croon and Northern Region Harness tutor; Sally Waters have selected initiatives to get the grants underway," Waiau Pa-based Phillips said. Meanwhile, Phillips said current 'Premier Harness Racing Cadet', Mark Johnson, has had the opportunity to spend two weeks with the 'All Stars Stable' in Rolleston, as well as time with John Dunn at Woodend. Johnson thanked Croon Bloodstock and the Waikato Harness Racing Trust for the opportunity to have two weeks in the South Island learning new things from the different stables. "It was a good experience seeing how other trainers train their horses and vary their training strategies, and the different ways they liked having their horses driven in work. The opportunity to drive at Nelson, being around exciting horses like Smolda and Cash N Flow, and driving work on the beach were certainly highlights of the trip," Johnson said. "Thank you to the All Stars team and John for their willingness to teach me,” he added. In other news Phillips said Waiuku horsewoman, Michelle Hackett, is currently working on a computer course focusing on Excel to up-skill her for the work she has been doing with the northern cadets. "A communication and media course will be held at Franklin Park on August 12 and 13. Many of our younger drivers will remember the very popular and successful media training courses, held a few years ago with Dick Weir. Unfortunately, a lack of funding brought these to a halt but with the Croon Bloodstock Award we are again able to offer this opportunity. "A vibrant and enthusiastic facilitator Dick builds on each individual’s strengths, giving them strategies to improve their communication skills and develop confidence in media situations. In recent years Dick has worked with Trackside providing training for presenters, and in an on-going mentoring role. “Since 1996 Dick has been employed by New Zealand Racing Board to train not only Trackside presenters, but also studio directors, executives and bookies in communication and media skills," said Phillips. As Weir put it: “Everyone can be an excellent communicator in their own way, it’s just that training can help them reach their potential," Weir said The scholarship is available for 2017 and 2018, at the end of this period Croon will evaluate and review the scholarship. Croon is a Current Director of the New Zealand Racing Board, a former Chairman of Northern Harness Racing, former Auckland Trotting Club President and current vice president of the Auckland Trotting club. Phillips said he was a successful owner and breeder in New Zealand and a leading vendor at the Australasian Yearling Sale. "Rod has said that this award fund is a way to give back to an industry that he is passionate about and that has given him much pleasure and excitement over many years. It is also a way of giving something to the future of harness racing, by helping people in the industry up-skill and to be better prepared for the times ahead. For anyone interested in attending the communication / media course in August, or accessing the grant, please contact Anne or Sally for further details on how to apply. Anne Phillips:   |   Phone: 021 672 959 Sally Waters:   |   Phone: 027 494 2850

As far as exceeding expectations go, Bite The Bullet well and truly met the brief at Addington on Sunday. So much so in fact that John Dunn considered himself more than impressed with the four-year-old’s effort to produce a dashing final furlong to win in his first appearance since April of last year. “After such a long time away from the track, to produce an effort like that first up was pretty impressive,” Dunn said.  The Mach Three gelding, who ran sixth behind Lazarus in the Sires’ Stakes Final as a three-year-old, is owned by the Ashburton trio of Alan and Ian Neumann along with Brent Clarke and has endured a rather tumultuous last couple of years. He’s had two wind operations, the second coming after the first was unsuccessful and it’s been a long and slow build up to get back to the track. But judging by Sunday’s win, the wait has been worth it. “His work and everything leading up to the weekend had been really good, we thought he would go a good race. “But even half-way down the straight I thought he was just going to finish the race off strongly, but I didn’t really expect him to pick them up in the way he did. “He really flattened out and sprinted, to get to them as quick as he did left me pretty impressed.” With a record of four wins and seven placings from 23 starts and his wind issues, hopefully, behind him there’s a good platform from which Bite The Bullet can now launch from - although the direction he’s headed is still up in the air. As a Rating 70 pacer, options are limited but not scarce and being a part of the dual-located Dunn stable will has its advantages. Auckland is an option, particularly with the stake levels on offer, but Dunn is happy to take it day by day and see what transpires. “We haven’t worked that out what we will do next,” Dunn said. “There are options there but it’s a case of sitting down and figuring them out.” Bite The Bullet was one half of a driving double for Dunn on Sunday. He also saluted with the ever-improving son of The Pres, Red Hot Poker for Graeme Telfer. With 68 wins next to his name for the season, it’s not going to end quite as fruitful as some of his recent seasons but Dunn is still a happy man and he and his father Robert will go close to triple figures again in the training ranks. “We’ve got a really nice team due to come back to the track soon, some really talented types so that’s always exciting. “But it’s been a good season, the wins have come again and we have to be happy with what we have achieved.” Dunn sighted the emergence of the talented Captain Dolmio as one of his real highlights from the season. The former Southlander is back in work at Woodend Beach and will be aimed at a New Zealand Trotting Cup campaign in the spring. Matt Markham

Away from the hustle and bustle of the high quality three-year-old age group racing, Billy Badger was always going to be a promising prospect. So when Robert and John Dunn elected to include the talented pacer in their contingent of horses bound for Nelson last week, you knew immediately that they meant business. And when the diminutive pacer backed up some serious support from punters on Friday to break through for a much deserved win there was a sense of mission accomplished. Few probably thought too far ahead than Friday, but the Nelson Winter Cup was still up for the taking and Billy Badger, on Sunday, took the bull by the horns and claimed the winter feature with John Dunn in the bike. Owned by Ross and Angela Gordon, Billy Badger downed some high quality opposition in the Winter Cup, including fellow three-year-old, Mongolian Hero. It was a fitting result for the Gordon duo who have endured a tough season with the loss of the highly talented, Say My Name. Billy Badger, an Art Major colt from Lady Antebellum, has now won six of his 29 career starts and picked up more than $70,000 of stake money along the way. Later in the day on Sunday, the Craig and Aimee Edmonds trained, Rishi, also finished the weekend as a dual winner. A three-year-old by Bettor’s Delight from Reklaw, Rishi was having just his second and third race day starts, but looked ever the consummate professional as he dealt to his rivals on both occasions. The win tripled the season tally for the father and daughter Edmonds combination, who incidentally also picked up their other winner for the season at Nelson when Muscles Galore was victorious earlier this year. Cameron Jones picked up his first New Zealand win as a driver on Sunday when he partnered the Leonne Jones trained, Mr Fahrenheit to success in the maiden trot. The Pegasus Spur gelding, who is a member of the family of the great Tussle, took more starts than most expected to break the maiden status, but never really looked in doubt on Sunday. Driven confidently by Jones, who has won a hoard of races in Australia, the three-year-old wore down his rivals to claim the victory. While it was a relatively short time for him, Mark Gill’s wait with Shadowman has been considerably longer. But the son of Sutter Hanover put it all behind him on Sunday when he burst through the middle of runners to win for Craig Thornley at start 48 in his career. Matt Markham

Robert Dunn is knocking on pacing’s golden door and he is hoping Alta Maestro is the key. Dunn finds himself in the rare position of having the odds-on favourite in the first group one juvenile race of the harness racing season at Alexandra Park tomorrow night (Friday). It is not just rare for him, its rare for anybody whose names isn’t Purdon or Rasmussen.  The All Stars have completely dominated juvenile racing in this country, and when they choose Australia as well, for the last three seasons, winning virtually every major juvenile race they contest. But that is not how the market sees tomorrow night’s $100,000 Breckon Farms Young Guns, with Dunn’s colt Alta Maestro red hot to remain unbeaten. The All Stars still have the second and third favourites so normal service could resume but so far this season their start has been slower than usual --- winning none of the Young Guns heats nor the Sapling or Kindergarten Stakes. For Dunn, who trains in an unofficial training partnership with his son John, having a top flight juvenile colt is season changing. “If you can get a genuinely top colt then you start thinking about some big money races both here and in Australia that we haven’t been part of for years.  “A lot of water can go under the bridge before then but we are already favourite for a group one and after that a good baby has races like the Sires’ Stakes, Sales Series, Jewels and the Breeders Crown in Aussie.  “They are huge money races and we might have two horses worth aiming at them because The Brooklyn Brawler (last week’s Kindergarten winner) is eligible for the Vicbred series.  “So it is a pretty exciting time for us and something we would like to target more going forward.” Alta Maestro not only won his two heats of the Young Guns but has been spectacular  at the workouts the last two weekends, all of which is capped by having the best draw of the favourites tomorrow night.  “Draws are crucial in these juvenile races because gate speed and racing handy are so important.  “And more importantly this horse has improved since he last raced. I think he will lead on Friday and they will need to be good to beat him.”Alta Maestro will be odds-on while Ultimate Machete has opened $2.40 favourite over stablemate More TheBetter in tomorrow’s Woodlands Northern Derby.  Smolda has opened favourite for his return to Alexandra Park in the City of Auckland Free-For-All, over The Orange Agent, Waikiki Beach and Have Faith In Me. Michael Guerin

Canterbury trained The Brooklyn Brawler added his name to the winners list of the harness racing time honoured Alabar New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes when he held off a late challenge from favourite The Devils Own at Wyndham yesterday. After sitting out in the open for the first 400 metres driver John Dunn took The Brooklyn Brawler to the top. He was pressured briefly by Alta Shelby who steamed up on the outside but Dunn retained the lead. It appeared halfway down the straight that both Tuapeka Trick and The Devils Own would run past him but the courageous colt held on to beat The Devils Own by half a length.  "He's lovely when he gets to the front. A big strong type who likes rolling along. He's not the sort of horse that can step the wheel and sprint a decent quarter so the draw and the tempo of the race suited him. He's still a big dummy and I thought they were going to run straight past him but he heard them coming and dug in deep. That's what you always like in a horse, " said Dunn after the race.  Judy and Ian Neumann with John Dunn and The Brooklyn Brawler - Photo Bruce Stewart. The winning time was 1-54.4 a fraction outside the race and track record of 1-54.3 jointly held by Le Sol and Itz Better To Win. This was the second time trainer Robert Dunn has trained a Kindergarten winner. The first was with National Glory in 1988.  The Brooklyn Brawler is owned by Ashburton brothers Ian and Alan Neumann.They also race horses with larger groups, including Franco Cristiano the winner of nine races who ran eighth in yesterday's Wyndham Cup. The win was The Brooklyn Brawlers second. His first was in Auckland in December. Subsequent to that he ran nineth in a race won by his stablemate Alta Maestro before running second to Cole Porter in the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton.  "He only flew home from Auckland two days before the Sapling Stakes - which took a wee bit out of him. He might have been a wee bit jaded a couple of days later." Dunn says he won't go back to Auckland as Alta Maestro, who's won both his races, is the stable's main Young Gun horse. The Neumanns have had a long association with harness racing in the South Canterbury area. Ian and Alan's parents raced horses successfully before the brothers ventured into the game.   Chadfield was their first horse. He started three times as a two year old running fifth in the 1983 New Zealand Sapling Stakes (won by Natural Guy) before being sold to Australia.   "That was our very first horse. Robert said it was tremendous money 'so take it because you know you'll get a good horse one day that you'll want to keep.' The next horse was Tyron Scottie," said Ian. Tyron Scottie was by Noodlum and was bred to pace.  "He wouldn't  pace for two or  three different trainers. An old fella called 'Stropper' White said one day that he'd have a look at the bloody thing. A month or two later he said to us, do you know a young guy called Patrick O'Reilly. We said yes and he said I might give him to him to train because I can't travel as far as I need to travel with this horse. We said you're joking and he said no he's a trotter not a pacer."  He ended his career with twenty one trotting wins, including the Group Two National Trot in Auckland in 1987 and 1988. And he also ran second to Yankee Loch in the 1989 Group One Rowe Cup. "He raced against the best trotters that went around I reckon." The Neumann family have had a lot of horses with O'Reilly including Ashton (three wins) and Dorothy's Choice (4 wins).  More recently they owned All Royal Gal which won the Group Three Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes at Alexandra Park. She was trained by Robert Dunn and has since been sold to Australia.  Ian says The Brooklyn Brawler is their first two year old group winner and was quick to thank northern driver Maurice McKendry for some of the early advice and work he did with the colt while he was stabled in Auckland. "I believe Maurice McKendry helped nuture him while he was in the North Island. He had trouble with teeth and didn't go that way round very well. Morrie Mac keep on telling us the horse would develop into a nice three year old so we weren't hoping for too much as a two year old."    The Neumann family have also been great sponsors of racing. The main race in their sponsorship portfolio is the Group Three Neumann's Bandag Hambletonian Mobile Trot for two year old trotters held in their hometown of Ashburton.  They own the Neumann Tyre group in Ashburton and also The Tyre General brands throughout the South Island.  The Brooklyn Brawler was originally named Art Green (New Zealand Bachelor). He was purchased by Robert Dunn for $45,000 at the national sales and subsequently gained a more masculine name. The Brooklyn Brawler is the name of Steve Lombardi a professional wrestler in America.  A two year old race at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park this Saturday is the next assignment for the Art Major colt.    Bruce Stewart Southern Harness racing

Mark Purdon shoots for five Kindergartens in a row and a remake of the classic 2014 Wyndham Cup is on the cards, making Saturday's feature meeting at the Young Quinn Raceway one to savour. Purdon's success in the Kindergarten began slowly and his early winners, So Cool and Sir Clive, were six years apart. He was both the trainer and the driver then, hasn't been on the winner since but prepared Messini to win for Tim Williams in 2013, Itz Bettor To Win for Blair Orange in 2014, Waikiki Beach for Brent Barclay in 2015 and Pacing Major for Dexter Dunn in 2016. For the last three he was training in partnership with Natalie Rasmussen and last year their runners actually took out the trifecta with More The Better second and You Gotta Have Faith third. Purdon's most recent drive in the race was on Alta Ronaldo, third in 2014, and he was looking forward to reining All U Need Is Faith this year, but on Thursday the brother to last year's winner was scratched. That has left them with Major Lucky, half-brother to last year's runner up, and Auckland Rector's niece The Devils Own, to represent them on Saturday. Both have trialled well and sprinted home impressively without winning. Until they have had a chance on raceday, Purdon said he was reluctant to label them but did reveal that Rasmussen had done all the work with The Devil's Own and picked him as the best. Major Lucky, he said, was a good gaited youngster and from the one draw capable of going out from the start quickly and bowling along in front. The Devil's Own has drawn the outside of the front line. In his first trial, The Devil's Own finished runner up to Tuapeka Trick, one of two Robert Dunn reps in the Kindergarten. He is the drive of son Dexter on Saturday but was handled in the trial by son John, soon led and raced clear in the straight. He debuted for John at Addington on 23 February, was left parked for the last 1300 metres, but stuck gamely for fourth. John Dunn said Tuapeka Trick would have finished closer with an easier run but he hasn't been knocked by it. With a good run this week he could be in it, said Dunn, who be aboard stablemate The Brooklyn Brawler. A winner for Maurice McKendry at Alexandra Park in December, The Brooklyn Brawler was back south for the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton. In the hands of Dunn, he led from the 1100, was out finished by Cole Porter but still clocked just a tick over 1:54 for the trip. Dunn confirmed it was a really good run and said the Art Major colt has a bit of early speed so he is likely to go out hard early and see what happens. He names The Brooklyn Brawler the best of his pair. The thought of 50 metre markers Titan Banner and Costa Del Magnifico fighting out the finish of the 3200 metre Wyndham Cup brings back memories of three years ago when Franco Ledger from 40 metres got up by a head over Arden Rooney, from 30 metres in the hands of Mark Purdon, but had to clock a record 3:57.0 to do it. Previously trained by his Otago part-owner Graeme Anderson, Titan Banner joined Purdon and Rasmussen midway through last year. At the beginning of this year, Titan Banner was with Purdon in Auckland and due to fly to Melbourne when he hurt a leg in a paddock incident. “He had 10 days off in Auckland after that then we sent him down to Graeme on the beach,” Purdon said. Anderson noted, “There was a bit of racing coming up, his leg scanned really well, we had the ocean nearby so we put it to work. We've got the Wyndham and Northern Southland Cups then we'll discuss it with Mark where to go from there. He's done all that's been asked of him, he's healthy, his work's good, he's ready to go two miles, I'm confident he'll be hard to beat, there'll be no excuses.” Costa Del Magnifico has recently finished third at Waikouaiti from 45 metres and won at Gore from 35 metres, to satisfy his trainer Brent Shirley.  “I'm pleased with his last two races, he's worked on very well and his attitude in training has lifted, he seems to be back to where he should have been if he hadn't had the virus,” Shirley said. “Health-wise and fitness-wise he is very well, he's been stepping well and how he steps, and how the others step will be a big factor at Wyndham.” John Dunn will drive Franco Cristiano who goes from 20 metres in the Cup. “He was checked last start and galloped, I took him the workouts and he had no problems,” Dunn said, “he is well and the two miles will be no worry.” Mac Henry

Yagunnakissmeornot’s new trainer Robert Dunn thinks the 5-year-old mare can go close in tonight’s Group Three $25,000 Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes at Alexandra Park, but deep down thinks she might be a run short. “Even though we are giving Idle Bones (40m) a 20m head-start, the Brent Mangos runner still looks the horse to beat. Our mare had two to three weeks off when we got her and we haven’t been able to get a suitable trial into her since then. “Don’t get me wrong she’s a classy animal and has been working well. She’s a beautiful looking horse and a natural athlete and can win, but the lack of racing is a slight concern,” Dunn said. Dunn obtained Yagunnakissmeornot off Sean McCaffrey, who after living in Cambridge for 50 years, this month takes up a position with Yabby Dam Farms in Ballarat. Yagunnakissmeornot last raced raced on January 26 at Alexandra Park when she finished a six-and-a-half length eighth (of 11) in a $15,000 Dunstan Mares R60 to R116 handicap trot. Tonight she will be driven by John Dunn for the first time. The daughter of Love You and Dutch Annie will be attempting to win her 13th race from 35 starts in the Sims Pacific Metals-sponsored 2700m standing start event - a distance she has been victorious five times from 15 attempts. In fact all 12 of her wins have been at 'The Park' and Dunn said he can see why. “She’s a lovely gaited trotter and it’s a pleasure having her in our barn. It comes as no surprise to us that she’s one of the favourites. Even though she’s not quite 100 per cent I think she can still measure up,” he said. Idle Bones was paying $1.70 favourite when the New Zealand TAB's fixed odds market opened mid-week. Yagunnakissmeornot was quoted at $3.30 and Sunset Peak (10m) was at $8.50. The remaining seven were all paying double figure dividends. Unlike the other two favourites Yagunnakissmeornot doesn’t have the unruly tag beside her name. “We really like the way she steps and have been impressed by her fluent gait. It’s just a matter of getting work into her and progressing along until the Rowe Cup next month (April 28),” Dunn said. He said that McCaffrey had told him the mare hadn’t been finishing off her races the way he wanted to and that was something Dunn had been looking at. “Sean just couldn’t put his finger on it. He said she was starting to wilt in her last 50 metres. He vet-checked her and there was nothing come from it, so it is something we will monitor and work at closely. “I think the little break will have done her the world of good. She gives me the impression that she is getting back to the form that saw her get to open class,” Dunn said. Yagunnakissmeornot finished a one-and-a-half length third in this race last year behind All Royal Girl and Whitney. She was the favourite that night and started from 30m behind. Meanwhile, Dunn had no hesitation labeling his two-win Bettor’s Delight gelding, Wrangler, as his best winning chance at Alexandra Park tonight, despite starting from four on the second row in the first event. The 3-year-old will start one of the favourites in the $20,000 Brancott Estate Mobile for the up to R63 pacers. “He’s a nice gelding and I was really happy with the way he went last start. That was a nice third and he’s back in grade now. That was a big strong run and I’m expecting him to do even better on Friday, even from out there,” he said. Duane Ranger

Two confident John Dunn drives netted perfect results in two of the big races at Addington on Friday night. Dunn grabbed the Premier Mares Championship with Better Be Amazed and also took home the Summer Cup with Captain Dolmio. North Island visitor, Better Be Amazed - who is trained by Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick - picked up a much deserved big race win after producing so many great efforts in similar races during her career. “She deserves it,” Dunn said. “She just keeps going.” Dunn worked around the field during the mid stages and held too many guns for C A Penny and the pace-making, Ultimate Desire who filled the minor placings. Earlier in the night though Captain Dolmio announced himself as a future open class star with his front-running effort to win the Summer Cup. The Southland owned pacer ran a hot field into the dirt and will now be pointed at the Easter Cup. “He’s got a great heart, and he did that all tonight with a bandage hanging round his legs. “The two miles of the Easter Cup should really suit him too.” Dunn was also over the moon with the effort of Alta Orlando who flew home late for fourth. The stable also picked up a win with Letspendanitetogetha who helped extend the Robert Dunn lead on the trainers’ premiership. Mark Jones had double the reason to smile following the night’s feature trot. Jones trained the winner, Eyre I Come, but also took great satisfaction out of the performance of Master Lavros, who was mighty in defeat with his effort for third. The Burnham horseman refused to let the performance of his star trotter stand in the way of Eyre I Come’s effort though. “I’m rapt for Grant Hatton, he’s just in love with the horse,” Jones said. “And it’s been a testing one for him, because we’ve been told by more than one person that he would never race again. “The ability has always been there, he’s just had some bad luck with injuries, both of his knees are buggered.” Eyre I Come looked the goods a few years back when he produced a stunning performance to win on Cup Day but that’s when the bad luck started. He will now head towards Auckland and a shot at the Group One double of the ANZAC Cup and the Rowe Cup. Master Lavros will be there too. “He will probably have 10 days off now and then come back for Auckland, I was very happy with him tonight.” Master Lavros was attacked throughout the race by Marcoola, but kept fighting strongly, going down for second narrowly to Everybody Knows who split the Jones pair. Spanish Armada made light work of her $146,000 assignment in the opening race of the night - NZ Yearling Sales 3YO Fillies Final. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained filly, who was driven by Rasmussen, led from arch-rival Delightful Memphis and showed all her class to win comfortably. “She’ll be on a plane to Auckland this week,” Rasmussen said. “I’m really happy with her at the moment.” Spanish Armada has now won 10 of her 13 career starts and picked up more than $540,000 in stakes.   Matt Markham  

The John Dunn summer roadshow rolled into Blenheim on Friday and continued on its merry run of success.  Fresh off the back of a win fest at Nelson last weekend, Dunn was back into yet on the first day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s two day meeting with four winners, including a consecutive treble in the final three races of the day.  The win haul saw the stable of Dunn’s father, Robert, draw level with Greg and Nina Hope in second placing on the national trainer’s premiership, just one win behind the current leaders, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who are on 50 wins for the term thus far.  Dunn said that the stable targeted these meetings each year.  “We like to aim a big team for these meetings and we’ve been lucky to have some good success,” he said.  “You’ve got to have the horses though and we are lucky to have some nice ones up here.” The four wins yesterday came courtesy of Hayden’s Meddle, Dream To Reality, Billy Badger and Gotta Go Ya Hu.  Billy Badger’s victory was impressive as the three-year-old took on the older horses again and proved too good.  “He’s on top of his game at the moment, we had to do a bit of work out there and he kept giving.” He won’t race again at Sunday’s meeting, but the remainder of the team including a couple of sets of fresh legs will also be in action again.  Alta Orlando joins the fray for the Marlborough Cup after his impressive Nelson win last weekend while Cmeerock who was desperately unlucky last Sunday comes into the meeting and will contest the final race of the day.  With the Dunn stable winning four of the eight races, there wasn’t much left for anyone else but the performance of local trotter, Destiny Jones was notable.  The Dean Hunter trained mare started off a 40 metre handicap but was simply too good for her opposition, clearing out inside the final 200 metres to win comfortably.  “She’s going super at the moment and was an absolute pleasure to drive,” Blair Orange said.  “She made it look pretty easy really.” The win continued a great summer for Hunter who has been winning races regularly with his small but select team of trotters.  Racing returns to the Waterlea Raceway on Sunday, but with the threat of a deluge of overnight rain which may result in the formbooks being thrown out the window.  Alta Orlando will be the talk horse of the day in the Cup – but there are plenty of other chances throughout the day.  Terry and Glenys Chmiel will be looking to go one better than their effort on Friday where their four runners all finished second.    Super Selector – By Matt Markham  Race 1: Tehoro Dazzle, Geena’s Girl, I W McNik, Reign On Me Race 2: Born Again Delight, Glenferrie Duster, Goldiloch, Smooth N Easy  Race 3: Runaway Three, Titanium, Forgot To Remember, Out Of Aces Race 4: Scotlyn Jack, Hayden’s Meddle, Dream To Reality, Sauchiehall Race 5: Destiny Jones, Arditi, Little Mo, Clifden Clowers Race 6: Gotta Go Ya Hu, Franco Hampton, She’s A Flyin, Johnny White Race 7: Alta Orlando, Hopeful Harriet, C A Penny, Here We Go Again Race 8: Smithy, Cmeerock, Franco Tai, Eh Ef El Best Bet: Runaway Three (Race 3) Value: Scotlyn Jack (Race 4)

The decision by harness racing trainer Robert Dunn not to start Alta Orlando in the Nelson Pine Industries Prelude the first day of the Nelson Harness Racing Club meeting certainly paid dividends when he took out the Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup on day two. Alto Orlando won Sunday's feature race in a time of 3min 46.8sec for the 3000m event. Driver John Dunn took the race to his rivals slipping away on the final bend to win by six lengths from Hopeful Harriet and the fast finishing Mighty Flying Major. The gelding by Courage Under Fire is owned by Dunn's wife Jenna and father Robert, as well as Mitzi Taylor and Dr Marg Evans. Dr Evans also co-owns the second-place getter, Hopeful Harriet, with her husband Dr Bruce Taylor. John Dunn certainly had a great meeting, winning eight of the 22 races programmed. Robert Dunn trained six winners over the two days, while Greg and Nina Hope trained five winners over the weekend.   In the battle for the driving premiership, Blair Orange was leading by one win coming in to Sunday's racing but rival and good mate Dexter Dunn reined home three wins with Orange not securing a win to leave Dunn two wins ahead. Locally trained mare, Tattinger Rose, flew the flag for the Top of the South when she won the Dick Saunders Memorial Pace for Ian, Sue and daughter Nicole Thomas along with Kath and Darryl Eginton.   The club was delighted with the two days' racing which attracted a sizeable. By Kristie Hill Reprinted with permission of The Nelson Mail

A day in the sun at Nelson on Friday quickly became a day belonging to Johnny Dunn. The North Canterbury horseman, who wears two hats as an unofficial trainer and as a driver, stole the show on the first day of the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s two day meeting winning five in the sulky with four coming from the stable of his father, Robert. In a display of aggressive driving, making full use of a notable front runners bias yesterday, Dunn took the bull by the horns and set about dominating from the outset. He won early in the day with Muscles Galore in the maiden trot for his father-in-law and sister-in-law Craig and Aimee Edmonds. A Muscle Mass three-year-old gelding out of the former smart trotting filly, Harriet Hughes who hailed from the same stable, Muscle Mass went to war with BD Khaosan a long way out from home but kept finding and drew clear inside the final 100 metres to claim victory. Dunn the saluted on maiden pacers, Kotare Mist and Returntorocknroll - the latter finally breaking the maiden status after 19 starts for owners, Trent and Wendy Yesberg. Returntorocknroll is the sixth foal to the races from Jingle Belle Rock and now all six have won at least one race with noted performers, Bettor Rock On, J D Fortune and Great Balls A Flyin also hailing from the mare. Kotare Mist is also well bred being a Christian Cullen out of Kotare Yangtze who has left Bella Star, Kotare Mahdi and Kotare Mahal - she is raced by prominent owners and breeders, Tony and Gay Abell. Dunn’s remaining two winners come from consistent trotter, Foreverman and then he won the last with handy three-year-old pacer, Billy Badger who was levels ahead of his opposition in the last of the day. Greg and Nina Hope picked up a few of the scraps following the Dunn demoltion. They won the Nelson Cup Prelude with Usain Colt who continued a great run of luck for his owners, Wayne and Connie Stewart and then A G’s White Socks lived up to his reputation by remaining unbeaten with a big win later in the day after doing a power of work inside the final lap. Ricky May was on board both of the Hope winners. While it was Dunn’s day, Ladbrooks trainer, Dean Taylor achieved a notable milestone when he notched up his 500th training success when Jessica Young produced a peach of a drive on Go Davey to get him home against a handy field of pacers. Taylor has held a licence since 1989 - 1990 season, training his first winner at Westport when Lumber Scott won with Jeff Whittaker in the sulky. He’s prepared top open class pacer, Waipawa Lad to win a New Zealand Free-For-All and Captain Peacock won a New Zealand Derby. In recent years Taylor has formed a strong association with Young and he is currently enjoying a good season with eight winners on the board already.   Nelson Second Day selections - By Matt Markham   Race 1: Unico Enchantress, Out Of Aces, Living Glory, Jersey joe Wilcott Race 2: BD Khaosan, Gold Sovereign, Scarlet Bromac, Geena’s Girl Race 3: The New Man, Jimmy Nga, Lolita Franco, Idealagain Race 4: Johnny White, Black Art, Spooky, Clarendon Falcon Race 5: Tattinger Rose, Franco Lamar, JJ’s Delight, Red Ranger Race 6: Destiny Jones, Forverman, Prestine, Alvira Hest Race 7: Gotta Go Ya Hu, Bella Jones, Mac Toddy, Handlebar Hank Race 8: Unico Legend, One Off, Smooth N Easy, Born Again Delight Race 9: Mighty Flying Major, Usain Colt, Alta Orlando, Smithy Race 10: A G’s White Socks, Waimac Attack, Mrs Browns Boys, Gunpowder Race 11: Cmeerock, Torrid Bromac, Emily Blunt, Go Davey   Best Bet: A G’s White Socks (Race 10) Longshot: Geena’s Girl (Race 2)

John Dunn gave up being surprised by Graduate Under Fire a long time ago. So when the old marvel grabbed the 11th win of his career on the opening day of the West Coast circuit on Boxing Day, Dunn wasn’t at all shocked. “It was a bit of a drop in class for him and I thought he would go pretty close,” Dunn said. “But he’s a great old horse to do anything with and it’s a pleasure to take him to the races.” The eight-year-old son of Courage Under Fire began this campaign with his co-owner Ray Beale but was transferred to the Dunn stable for the Coast circuit and it resulted in instant success - with all 11 of his winners coming while in the stable. It was fitting that his latest win came at Westport as that is where he won his first race back in 2013. In seven starts at Westport he’s won twice and placed on four occasions. Today he’s back in action but faces a stiffer task than that which he did on Boxing Day as he steps back up into the grade with those who contested the Westport Cup including Buster Brady and Bronze Over. His stablemate, Say My Name, won’t be there though after finishing down the track on Monday. “I’m going to put that one down to a bad drive on my part,” Dunn said. “He will head to Reefton now and hopefully we can get a better result. I was going to take him down to Central Otago, but I’ve canned that Idea.” The opening of the West Coast circuit was a good day for Dunn as he drove four winners. Two came from the stable of Dean Hunter who produced trotters, Arditi and Destiny Jones to both win while he also saluted the judge after winning with Dream To Reality for his father, Robert. Of the team racing today though it was Returntorocknroll who Dunn rated as his best chance of the day. “He went really good on the first day, hopefully we can get the right run and he should be hard to beat.” Greg and Nina Hope, who produced three winners on the opening day along with stable driver, Ricky May, also have an imposing looking team engaged as they keep within distance of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen on the trainers’ premiership. Super Selector - By Matt Markham Race 1: Returntorocknroll, Highview Justice, Samarias Falcon, Supreme Harmony Race 2: Reign On Me, Zoned Scarlett, Ronald J, Michelle Race 3: Lolita Franco, American Alice, Bobby M, Franco Lamar Race 4: Medusa, Destiny Jones, My Amour, Sarah Palin Race 5: JJ’s Delight, Franco Tmick, Scoob Operator, Rebel Richie Race 6: Garry’s Legacy, Helena Ideal, Li Na, Cherokee Red Race 7: Buster Brady, Bronze Over, Johnny Eyre, Karanga Red Fantasy Race 8: Knockmanaugh, Precious Sara, Sails, Rocknroll Nevin Race 9: Glenisthebettor, Bettor To Be Smooth, Wobbegong, Onedin’s Delight Race 10: Midfrew Tarpediem, Indie, Shark Attack, Dana Dawn   Best Bet: Returntorocknroll (Race 1) Value: Medua (Race 4)  

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