Day At The Track

Dunn in for a good night

10:13 AM 28 Jul 2017 NZST
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Robert Dunn
HRNZ photo

A 40m handicap coupled with a junior driver might usually be a recipe that makes punters nervous but trainer Robert Dunn is comfortable with both at Alexandra Park tonight.

Dunn trains rejuvenated mare Yagunnakissmeornot who faces that often prohibitive back mark with young Jack MacKinnon in the sulky tonight, taking over from her recent winning driver Maurice McKendry.

MacKinnon is no novice, his 16 wins for the season placing him sixth on the national junior driver’s premiership and second equal among the North Island junior and boss Dunn has no concerns by the driver change.

“Jack knows her well and a very good young driver as well as being very mature,” said Dunn.

“She can be a funny horse to drive and took us a long time to work out because she is vastly better when you drive her with a sit, which Maurice has done brilliantly lately.

“But Jack knows that and in many ways that and her handicap takes any pressure off him because he already knows where he is likely to be and what he needs to do.”

Backing favourites off 40m handicaps in feature trots at Alexandra Park is not a sound long-term financial plan but Yagunnakissmeornot has been racing like an open class trotter, beating many of her rivals tonight by six lengths under similar circumstances two starts ago.

“And the make up of the field helps us,” says Dunn.

“Most of the really good horses in the race are back on 30m so she should be with them straight after the start and I don’t see a tearaway leader to run them really hard off the front line.

 “So I think she can win, even though they don’t often off 40m.” Dunn, who trains the northern arm of his team while son John takes care of the Canterbury horses, sits second on the national premiership with 87 wins and thinks he can end the season with at least two, maybe three tonight.

 “Cmeerock has a good chance in race two because it is her sort of field, although we have worked out she is also best when driven with a sit.

“And the horse who has really improved for us has been Johnny White (race six).

 “He has always had ability but developed a few problems and took us ages to get right.

“But he won well last Friday and has the draw to be handy again this week. If he leads or trails, which I think he will, then he has to be hard to beat.”

The pacing highlight of the night will be Butcher dominated, with drivers David (Vasari), Zac (Northview Hustler) and Ben (Max Phactor) on the three favourites.

Max Phactor was a very brave second when the tempo of his comeback race was against him last Friday and might have an experience/class edge over his three-year-old rivals but tonight is his first standing start so punters will want $3.50 to take the chance, even though as a very clean pacer who should handle the stand. 

Michael Guerin

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