He's Dunn It!
The result we have all hoped for has finally become reality for Johnny - the 100 wins for the season. In attaining this figure with victory on stable runner Kotare Mahal, Johnny has joined an elite group in New Zealand harness racing.
Johnny and Kotare Mahal out on their own winning by 6 lengths
It is only the very best that attain such a feat - to name a few that come to mind: Tony Herlihy, Maurice McKendry, Mark Jones, David Butcher, Ricky May, Peter Ferguson, Matthew Williamson (this season also), oh and of course little brother Dexter!
John's achievement in reaching the 100 mark is pure proof that hard work does pay dividends. Unlike Dexter, who is largely a freelance reinsman these days, it is John's commitments off the track, rather than his driving, that take up most of his time. This season he has taken responsibility for running the new beach stable out at Woodend. This has been a phenomenal success for the stable (88 wins after this race), and has been the catalyst behind John driving so many winners this season.
In making such a huge commitment, there have had to be a number of sacrifices also. It is nothing for John to be working 12-14 hour days on a regular basis. This in turn means that other things have had to suffer. John has a young family and without the understanding and tremendous support of wife Jenna, John just could not do what he does.
John would be the first to dedicate much of his success to loyal stable employees, especially Jason, Matt B, Matt P and the legend himself “RJ”, who heads up the West Melton operation. If it were not for good reliable staff he wouldn’t have been able to get away to his beloved coast circuits and the odd jaunt up north, or down south.
Horse and driver. What a combo!
Undoubtedly, John’s association with champion filly Venus Serena this season has been a real highlight. New Zealand records, Group Ones and a jewels crown. It just doesn’t get much better. Bring on the 2013-2014 season!
One key statistic that I believe I am right in illustrating is that John’s 100 wins, coupled with Dexter’s annual achievement of the feat, make them the first set of brothers in New Zealand Harness Racing to drive 100 winners in a single season. (I stand to be corrected!)
Congratulations on your achievement John. There is no-one in the industry who would begrudge you your success, or not heap the highest accolades on you. Enjoy your time in spotlight (as much as you hate it), you deserve it.
Posted: Fri 26 Jul 2013