Day At The Track

Dunn unmasks a piping hot prospect

09:00 AM 04 Aug 2020 NZST
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Aaron Dunn and Bondi Lockdown after the pacer’s impressive debut at Stawell,Harness racing
Aaron Dunn and Bondi Lockdown after the pacer’s impressive debut at Stawell
Stawell HRC photo

Western Victorian harness racing trainer Aaron Dunn has to go back a long way to remember a horse in his stable with better prospects than his precocious youngster Bondi Lockdown .

The two-year-old made very comfortable work of a 28.5 final quarter (MR 1:57.1) in a super-impressive debut win around the tight Stawell circuit and Dunn couldn't be happier with the colt he bought on a whim at the Fosters Gold yearling sale.

"He just went a bit rough on the home turn but otherwise he was perfect. I did have to wake him up in the straight, but once he got down to work, he went really well," Dunn said.

"He's pretty exciting. Dad and I think that he's potentially the best-looking horse and the best moving horse we've had on the farm since Dee Dees Dream."

Watch the replay click here:

And that's no small wrap! Dee Dees Dream (Camtastic-Westburn Tess (Windshield Wiper) won 19 of his first 30 starts, including the Gr 1 VicBred (2yo) Super Series Final, the Vic Golden Nursery Stakes, the Victorian Sires Classic and the Tasmanian Derby, before injury ended his career in 2008 with 38 wins and more than $400,000 in stakes.

In the past Dunn and his father Barry have been regular buyers at the yearling sales. Other than Dee Dees Dream, other handy acquisitions have been Speedo George (17 wins) and Nikki Badwagon (11 wins).

But Aaron's focus recently has been mostly on breeding at his Horsham property and the Bondi Lockdown buy was the result of his first venture to the yearling sales in 13 years.

"When I bought him I really didn't go to the sale looking to buy anything other than a filly, mostly to breed from in future," Dunn said.

"I did get a filly and I think she'll be handy, but I also was bidding on a few just because I thought they were good value.

"I saw this bloke and he looked great and when you look at the cost of a service fee to Somebeachsomewhere, I just thought he was going too cheap not to have a go at. His half-brother Rocknroll Eyes had won two or three at the time and was looking like a nice horse, and I ended up getting Bondi Lockdown for $20,000."

It's not hard to see why he took a second glance at the good-looking colt, though. Bondi Lockdown is out of handy broodmare Without Guile (Art Major-Innocent Eyes (Safely Kept). The mare has previously produced three foals for three winners: Rocknroll Eyes (15 wins); Joeys Hangover (eight wins); and Without Hesitation (four wins). Bondi Lockdown's grand-dam Innocent Eyes won more than $400,000 in her 18 victories.

Dunn is keeping his feet on the ground but is hoping that Bondi Lockdown might make 2020 entirely memorable for all the right reasons.

"It's pretty obvious why we named him Bondi Lockdown - being by Somebeachsomewhere and this year being what it's been," Dunn said.

"We've been very excited with how he's come on since he came back from the breaker Rod Barker but you don't really want to get ahead of yourself, and we really had been hoping to go first up to either Ballarat or Terang, being bigger tracks, but the races didn't stand up," he said.

"His win at the Ballarat trials a couple of weeks back put a bit of hype around him, so I was just rapt that he did go so well at Stawell. When you have a high expectation you just hope it all pans out!"

The win was the high point of a very good day at the office for Dunn. He brought up a double with Vanity Bay (Western Ideal-Forest Bliss (Blissful Hall) and went within a nose of owning (or part-owning), training and driving three winners when narrowly defeated on Keayang Shady (Shadyshark Hanover-Alimar Star (Safely Kept).

Dunn said he would wait to see how the youngster developed and how the unpredictable season 2020 season unfolded before making too many plans for Bondi Lockdown - but the sires, VicBred and 2yo features are definitely on the radar.

"I've tried to wrap him in cotton wool to a degree up until now, because I've thought he was quite a bit above average for six months or so," Dunn said.

"I'm really the only one to drive him. He's good in nature, but I was worried that, being a colt, he might get a bit over the top.

"At this stage we know he's got speed, but he will need to get tougher and will still have to take another step to match it with the good ones."

Bondi Lockdown's next assignment is on Wednesday night at Terang, where he meets an interesting field on paper - including a Michael Stanley-trained first starter in Hammers Hellpatrol, a full brother to Breeders Crown champion Menin Gate ($574,000).


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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