Alta Maestro the key

Robert Dunn is knocking on pacing’s golden door and he is hoping Alta Maestro is the key.

Dunn finds himself in the rare position of having the odds-on favourite in the first group one juvenile race of the harness racing season at Alexandra Park tomorrow night (Friday).

It is not just rare for him, its rare for anybody whose names isn’t Purdon or Rasmussen. 

The All Stars have completely dominated juvenile racing in this country, and when they choose Australia as well, for the last three seasons, winning virtually every major juvenile race they contest.

But that is not how the market sees tomorrow night’s $100,000 Breckon Farms Young Guns, with Dunn’s colt Alta Maestro red hot to remain unbeaten.

The All Stars still have the second and third favourites so normal service could resume but so far this season their start has been slower than usual --- winning none of the Young Guns heats nor the Sapling or Kindergarten Stakes.

For Dunn, who trains in an unofficial training partnership with his son John, having a top flight juvenile colt is season changing.

“If you can get a genuinely top colt then you start thinking about some big money races both here and in Australia that we haven’t been part of for years. 

“A lot of water can go under the bridge before then but we are already favourite for a group one and after that a good baby has races like the Sires’ Stakes, Sales Series, Jewels and the Breeders Crown in Aussie. 

“They are huge money races and we might have two horses worth aiming at them because The Brooklyn Brawler (last week’s Kindergarten winner) is eligible for the Vicbred series.

 “So it is a pretty exciting time for us and something we would like to target more going forward.”

Alta Maestro not only won his two heats of the Young Guns but has been spectacular  at the workouts the last two weekends, all of which is capped by having the best draw of the favourites tomorrow night.

 “Draws are crucial in these juvenile races because gate speed and racing handy are so important.

 “And more importantly this horse has improved since he last raced. I think he will lead on Friday and they will need to be good to beat him.”
 Alta Maestro will be odds-on while Ultimate Machete has opened $2.40 favourite over stablemate More TheBetter in tomorrow’s Woodlands Northern Derby.

 Smolda has opened favourite for his return to Alexandra Park in the City of Auckland Free-For-All, over The Orange Agent, Waikiki Beach and Have Faith In Me.

Article by Michael Guerin

Posted: Fri 10 Mar 2017