RJ hits 1500. Classie Brigade and Heisenberg both record big race wins.
On what turned out to be a stunning day for harness racing this afternoon at South Bay, the stable have walked away with a big chunk of the spoils with wins to Classie Brigade - Kaikoura Cup and Heisenberg - PGG Wrightson Aged Classic. For trainer Robert Dunn it was a milestone meeting as he trained his 1500th New Zealand winner - Heisenberg, while by the day's end, he had registered win 1501 with Jay Tee Tyron.
Robert's training career goes all the way back to the 1978 season when he trained 20 winners in his first season in the training ranks. However, it was not until Boxing Day 2014 that he would bring up win 1000 with Superintendent, the winner of the Westport Cup registering that milestone. In doing so he joined some of harness racings greats including Roy, Barry and Mark Purdon. Remarkably less than five years on, Robert has trained his 1500th New Zealand winner.
When asked just what it is that has seen his father have such amazing success as a trainer over the last five years in particular, son John was quick to sum it up.
"Owners, numbers, horsepower and the beach. It's the combination of all four really."
"We have been so lucky to have some marvellous owners that have stuck by us and keep turning up at the sales prepared to spend."
"Ian Dobson, Ross Gordon, the Neumanns, Nigel Armstrong and then of late Colin and Nancy Hair, they have been great owners. Obviously there are plenty of others too."
"In the case of Colin and Nancy, if it wasn't for the beach, then we probably wouldn't be training for them. That we how we came upon Uncas for them and then in more recent times the likes of Sundees Son and Woodstone."
John was quick to heap the praise on his dad bringing up the 1500th win.
"It's really good, especially considering we also trained the trifecta in the race."
It was Classie Brigade that got Robert to win 1499 with his win in the Kaikoura Cup.
"It worked out really good with him landing the front early."
"We copped it pretty easy in front and being able to run home in 55 seconds, pretty made it impossible for anything to come wide with a run."
"That's the beauty of the beach really. He hadn't raced for three weeks, or been to a trial or workout but his work had been really good."
Having recovered from a virus that was troubling him at his previous start, John is excited about next week's cup and hoping that the draws may play their part.
"I guess that's what we want for both him and Henry Hubert."
"He worked really well this morning and will go to the cup trial Wednesday."
"It's not really been the most ideal cup preparation for him, but he was never an option to go to Kaikoura today, it's not his track."
Classie Brigade's win today was the 15th of his 49 start career and takes his stake-earnings to just under the $300k mark.
Win 1500 came just one race later in the shape of Heisenberg for Ross and Angela Gordon.
"He has always been a good horse and was definitely one of the best three year olds going around last season, generally against the best."
"You just never quite know how they will come back again the next season though after taking a few losses."
"He has definite come back a stronger horse though this season and deserved his win."
"All three of ours have gone super and the start was the key, especially with the favourable frontline draws."
After stepping good, Heisenberg handed up to stablemate Stars Tonight which set up a good clip in front until just over a lap to go. At the 1200m, John came off the trail to assume the lead and always looked to be travelling well within himself. Asked for his effort turning for home, Heisenberg was always travelling too good for the stablemates, leading home a stable trifecta, with Stars Tonight -Gavin and Franco Niven - Tim, both very good runs.
The day hadn't necessarily started as was hoped earlier in the day. Sires Stakes hopeful Down To The Bone played up behind the gate losing stride and starting some six lengths adrift of the field early.
"He was just being a little bugger," said John.
"It was the first time he had started off the second row and it's just something he has to get used to."
Having caught the body of the field John improved on him to a parked spot inside the last lap.
"They were only walking up front, so I was able to get around easily and then it was really just a sprint home."
Down To The Bone never shirked on his run over the last 200m being beaten a nose and a head in his final dress rehearsal for next week's Sires Stakes final.
"I just hope that our three year olds draw well in that race."
Down To The Bone will be joined in the final by Above N Beyond and most likely Mighty Looee which has been running good races in the north throughout the spring.
Valloria and Pres Da Belle both put in competitive runs in the feature trot, running 4th and 6th respectively.
"Valloria got a good run and battled on pretty good. He's just a bit off those better ones."
"Pres Da Belle was good after the break and did well to get as close as she did."
The final two runners for the day were Jay Tee Tyron and and Anamajor in the last.
Jay Tee Tyron was able to cross early to find the lead, while Anamajor had to go back to near last after drifting off the early speed. Despite getting plenty of attention in front, Jay Tee Tyron kicked too well for his opponents in the straight, registering his 5th win from just the 12 starts for the Neumanns. Anamajor was a fast closing 4th after getting a drag into it on the turn, finishing just a length from her stablemate at the line.
Posted: Mon 04 Nov 2019