Day At The Track

Can he break his own record?

07:52 PM 14 Jun 2017 NZST
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Dexter Dunn 2.jpg
Dexter Dunn

It is a lot easier to give up a shot at New Zealand’s racing toughest record when you already own it.

So champion driver Dexter Dunn will miss the end of the season even if it costs him setting a new national record for win in the term.

After a typically successful weekend Dunn sits on 199 wins for the term, 30 more than closest rival Blair Orange so assured of his 10th straight driver’s premiership.

With 19 meetings left in the South Island for the remainder of the season, 27-year-old Dunn would only need to average one per meeting with a couple of extras to break the record of 220 wins.

He set that figure back in 2011 and got close with 214 last season and 216 the one before.

While the profitable Southland circuit finished over the weekend, there are five Forbury Park meetings to go this season, which are often the scene of multiple wins for Dunn.

But complicating Dunn’s equation is the fact he will miss the last weekend of the season as he heads to North America for a brief holiday before his defence of the World Driver’s title in Canada in August.

Dunn won the series in Australia two years ago and says it takes priority over breaking the national wins record.

“I can’t wait to get over there because it is a great series and you learn so much,” he says.

“Not only is it special to represent your country but you make a lot of friends and learn things from all the other drivers.

“It will be my third championships and it is the highlight of the season.”

Dunn wants to travel to the championships via New York to take in Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands so will miss the final two meetings of his season at Addigton and Oamaru.

“That could potentially end up costing me getting past 220 but it doesn’t bother you are much when it is your own record,” he admits.

“But if I get to 218 or something with a week to go then I might not see it that way.

“It would be cool to reset the record and I think it is possibly on because the Forbury meetings tend to be be pretty good to me and I don’t have any Australian commitments coming up.”

With another 200-win season just one away Dunn will continue a scarcely believable average of just over 200 wins per season for the ninth straight year, even more remarkable because nobody else has ever achieved the feat even once.

“I’m on 199 now and not being stuck on that is one of the most important things, because I’ve finished two seasons on 199 and that sucked.

“But I should get well past that and considering how long a season it has been I am feeling pretty fresh.

“I haven’t had as much travel to Australia this season, which has helped.”

Dunn says while his strike rate is better now than ever, driving a winner every 4.7 drives, he says he drives more “ugly races” now then he used to.

“The racing has changed so much in the last five years,” he offers.

“You used to be able to sit back and drive them pretty and come with one run when I first started driving but now you have to be on the speed a lot more.

“The odd one can still come from back in the field but on the whole you need to be on the speed because they just keep running.”

If Dunn does get surpass his 220 seasonal record he could also join another very elite club as he sits on 1978 career wins in New Zealand, meaning he could top 2000 before the end of the term if he has a stellar next six weeks.

The biggest difference: Dunn is 25 years younger than any other member of the 2000-win club.

And if he keeps winning at his current rate he would become New Zealand’s first 4000-win horseperson of any code before his 38th birthday.

 

DEXTER DUNN
** Heading for 10th straight national premiership.
** Averaging 203 wins per season over last eight years.
** Already holds NZ record for wins in a season at 220.
** Current World Driving Champ
** 22 wins away from joining elite 2000 wins in New Zealand club.
 ** Strike rate of win every 4.7 drives.

 

Michael Guerin

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