John in dominant form on premier race night

John in dominant form on premier race night

He may have started as long as $51 on the Drivers Challenge at Addington last night, but no-one told John Dunn, who was in dominant form, his wins including the Group Two Premier Mares championship and the Group Three Summer Cup. John's positive driving on an off, but still quick track, saw him position his drives well and ensure that they were in a forward position to challenge when the pressure went on.

John's biggest win of the night was with North Island visitor Better Be Amazed. Backed into warm favourite, despite a wide second draw, Better Be Amazed had been in good form before coming south. Owned by Stonewall Stud, the Bettor's Delight 5yr old had to be good to win doing a power of work in a race that was run at a frenetic pace throughout. It was a forward move a lap out though that proved the winning of the race. Realising the threat of the pacemaking Ultimate Desire, John began to put pressure on that mare from the 800m. A 28 second quarter down the back saw her serving it up to Ultimate Desire, driven by John's brother Dexter. As the two mares turned for home locked together, it appeared that there was only one threat, if any and that was the traillng C A Penny that had enjoyed a great run in the trail. While that mare came powerfully through the passing lane when it was presented, it was the northerner that showed the biggest fight to prevail by a neck, with Ultimate Desire, as game as always two and a half lengths away in third.

Last night's win was the 14th in 38 starts for Better Be Amazed and with a further eight placings, she has done one hell of a good job for her owners. She is sure to be seen in the south again this season, particularly with her preference for left-handed tracks.

One race before this and John combined with stable runner Letspendanitetogetha for a tough and dominant win. Unlucky first up this campaign and then not at ease on the grass surface at his last start, Letspendanitetogetha was a forgotten runner by the punters, allowed to go out 9th favourite in a 13 horse field.

With some good speed inside him in the race, John allowed Letspendanitetogetha to stay out of the early speed, before pressing forward to the parked position at the 1300m, outside second favourite Cable Beach. No sooner had he arrived at the parked position though, having done a power of work, Letspendanitetogetha was left chasing down the back straight as Jim Curtin allowed Cable Beach to stride out. Well enough positioned in the 1-1 at the 500m, Letspendanitetogetha was drawn wide with his run quickly making up ground on the leaders. When Cable Beach broke up on straightening up, it was Letspendanitetogetha that strode to the lead out wide, before continuing a strong run to the line, eventaully winning by one and a half lengths in a very good 2.19.7 for the 1950m.

Letspendanitetogetha (in picture) is fast becoming one of the more consistent horses in the stable, his win last night his 7th in just 21 starts for owners Reg Storer and Terry McDonald. With a further seven placings, he has taken his stake-earnings to over $57,000.

A four year old, Letspendanitetogetha is unlikely to head north for the Auckland 4yr old features, as he does not cop it that way around. A more realistic target is the Harness Jewels at Ashburton, where he currently sits second on the rankings behind Classie Brigade.

John was understandably happy with a big run.

"He's had to do plenty really," he said.

"I only got one out from just over a lap to go and then Jimmy was off so we never ever got a rest."

"To pick them up like he did its been a bloody good run."

Not so fortnate in the race was stablemate Franco Cristiano, which was resuming from a short spell. Obliged to race back in the field, Franco Cristiano was still back in the field turning for home, but with plenty to give.

"He was still going really well," confirmed driver Dexter Dunn.

"He just ran up the back of the one in front of him and that was him done."

There was clearly plenty of positives with the run and he will be one to watch in the coming weeks.

Other good runs on the night included:

Gotta Go Ya Hu - a really nice second behind the classy Tiger Thompson in the Sales Series Harness 5000. He stuck strongly for his placing after doing some work early.

Sacred Angel - was a very good third behind Spanish Armada and Delightful Memphis in the yearling sales three year old fillies final.

Hayden's Meddle - stuck on well for third in his race, behind a very impressive Let It Ride.

Foreverman - very unlucky 4th in the trot after being late to work clear.

Posted: Sat 18 Feb 2017