Robert Dunn Harness Racing Stable
Welcome to the website for the Robert Dunn Trotting Stables. The Dunn family name is synonomous with harness racing in both New Zealand and Australia. Robert has proven himself as a driver and trainer. He has trained the winners of many premier races, including the 1992 Auckland Cup, as trainer/driver of Master Musician and the 2005 New Zealand Cup, training Mainland Banner to victory. In the 2014 NZ Cup, stable runner Franco Nelson was narrowly beaten by champion mare Adore Me in what was a World Record time. On Boxing Day 2014, he trained his 1000th NZ winner in a career that has spanned over 30 years. This total has now extended to 1240 winners.
From the start of the 2013-2014 season, the benefits of the Woodend base have been plain to see, with 103 wins from 656 starters. The 2014-2015 season continued on a very positive note and the stable placed 2nd in the premiership with 104 wins from 807 starters. In the just completed 2015-2016 season, the stable placed second in the premiership table with 121 wins, ten behind the Purdon/Rasmussen stable. In the current season, the stable have produced 84 winners from 644 starters and are second in the premiership behind Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
Over the past two seasons, there has also been a second branch of the stable in Pukekohe. This move is clearly one that has paid dividends. There are presently 15 stable runners based up north and their progress is being overseen by Robert, well supported also by Jack MacKinnon.
Standout horses in the stable include: Franco Nelson, Captain Dolmio, Franco Cristiano, Alta Maestro and American Tart.
Robert has two sons who have also made their mark on the racetrack. Eldest son John has been driving for 15 seasons and is now regarded as one of New Zealand's premier reinsmen. In the 2012-2013 season he achieved two major milestones - he drove his 500th winner for his career, and achieved a season total of 102 wins in the cart. In the just 2015-2016 season, John drove 109 winners from 723 drives, with stakes won over $1.1 million. John runs the Woodend stable and trains over 30 horses out of there. John has driven 70 winners from 549 drives in the current season.
Robert Dunn John Dunn
Ross Houghton is John's right-hand man at the Woodend stable. He joined the stable on a full-time basis at the end of 2015, after year's working as a loader out at the airport. Ross was a successful junior reinsman and worked for extended periods for both Dean Taylor and Barry Purdon. He has helped out the stable for years in his "free-time" and is a highly valued member of staff with a great work ethic. Ross enjoyed a major highlight since returning to serious race-driving reining Joey Maguire (a horse he co-owns) to a dead-heat for first in the 2016 Marlborough Summer Cup. Ross drove four winners last season and has driven nine winners from 90 drives in the current season.
Craig Smith also joined the stable ranks last season and has started his race-driving career. Like Dexter, Craig is a product of Christchurch Boys' High School. Craig has had only limited opportunities in the cart to date, but has shown good promise and drove three winners in the just completed season. After a short stint with Robert up at the Pukekohe stable and down in Mosgiel for the Forbury winter meets, Craig is back at the beach with John. He has driven five winners from 48 drives in the present season.
Jack MacKinnon is Robert's key man with the Pukekohe stable. Jack began race-driving in the 2012-2013 season and has driven 31 winners from 446 drives. Before working for Robert, Jack had received excellent tutelage from Paul Nairn and Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett. This season he has driven seven winners from 58 drives and is currently placed second behind Dylan Ferguson on the North Island Junior Premiership. He was the leading junior driver at Alexandra Park last season.