Stable treble makes for a good weekend
The weekend has been a good one from a stable point of view, with two wins at Timaru yesterday and a further win at Motukarara today.
The weekend started on a good note with a convincing win by Dancing In The Dark (in picture) at Timaru. Contesting a race for the junior drivers, Dancing In The Dark was well supported in the hands of Matt Purvis, but things looked dire early as she rolled into a gallop. While she settled well back, driver Purvis never panicked and made all the right moves at the right time. Going down the backstraight the last time, he got the mare onto the three wide train at the right time, was up challenging wide out turning for home before hitting the lead at the 200m and then held on strongly in the run to the line to hold out a strong late finisher in Best Defence.
Dancing In The Dark has always been a well regarded horse within the stable and yesterday's win was her second from just the ten race starts. With yesterday's win penalty free, she looks certain to put her foot in the till again soon and is clearly one to follow.
A few races later and it was smiles all round as former star juvenile Alta Orlando was back in winning form in just his second start back after two years on the sideline. Good enough to win the Group Two Welcome Stakes as a two year old when trained by the Purdon/Rasmussen barn, Alta Orlando went amiss after the Sires Stakes final of 2014 in which he ran a top third behind Have Faith In Me. All attempts to get him back to the track were unsuccesful and he was offered to John just under a year ago. Given plenty of time to get ready for the races, Alta Orlando showed with some smart trials that he wasn't far away from being ready. It was rather frustrating then that he blew the start behind the mobile on cup day and didn't take any part in the race.
In yesterday's Timaru Summer Cup, he stepped like a toff early, and was handy to the pace over the first 600m before driver John Dunn sent him to the front. Once in that role, he always appeared to be loving his work. While strongly attended by the second favourite Delightful Dash to his outside from the 600m, Alta Orlando always looked to be travelling like a winner and strode clear turning for home. Allowed to run to the line, he eventually ran out a convincing winner by three and a quarter lengths in 3.17 for the 2600m. This win must be of huge satisfaction to the stable and if he can do his bit manners wise, he looks in for a productive summer.
At today's Motukarara races, there were just the three runners from a stable point of view. The Nans Man always looked the best of these and so it proved as with a bold front running performance, he proved much too strong.
Driven by Ross Houghton, The Nans Man took advantage of his good barrier to quickly assume the early lead. He always looked to travel well and going down the back the last time, Houghton was able to steal some cheap quarters. This ultimately proved the winning of the race, as turning for home he still had a good sprint left in him, enough to hold on by a neck over Beaudiene Gamble that had trailled throughout.
Today's win was the first for The Nans Man in 17 starts, although he has only been with the Robert Dunn stable for five of these. For driver Houghton, it is his second win of the season from just the 8 drives. The Robert Dunn stable have 21 wins on the board and sit four adrift of leaders Greg and Nina Hope. In the drivers' premiership John has 18 wins for the season and is currently placed 6th in the premiership.
Posted: Sun 20 Nov 2016