Dunn a real chance to do “double”

By Michael Guerin

John Dunn wants to achieve something that hasn’t been done in modern times, but even if he pulls it off he won’t get his name in the record books.

Dunn dreams of winning both the trainers and drivers’ premierships this year, with the harness racing season running from January 1 to December 31.

At the half way stage he has a great shot at both, kind of.

But there are two small issues: he isn’t actually officially a horse trainer and to win the drivers’ premiership he has to beat Blair Orange.

Let’s start with the first issue.

Dunn is the boss of the Canterbury stable which runs under Robert (his father) and Jenna’s (John’s wife) names, and is branded as Diamond Racing.

Nothing untoward in that. Everybody who knows harness racing knows John runs things but he believes Jenna, who is an integral part of the stable, should have her name on the paperwork too.

It obviously all works because Diamond Racing has a 22 win lead over Steve and Amanda Telfer on the trainer’s premiership and John is very clear about their commitment to winning the title again.

“We absolutely want to win it again and I think we have the numbers to do it,” says Dunn,

“Not only do we want to win it for ourselves and the owners but Dad (Robert) is good mates with Steve Stockman (owner of Stonewall Stud, who the Telfers train for) and they enjoy ribbing each other about it.

“So the trainers’ premiership is a priority.”

Winning the driver’s premiership would not only be more official but would put Dunn in two rarified clubs: one an (unofficial) winner of both premierships in the same season while John’s brother Dexter has won a remarkable 10 driving premierships.

When Dexter moved to the United States, Orange took over the driving premiership domination and John isn’t sure he can wrest it away from his good friend.

John recently drove seven winners on an Addington card and took the premiership lead, Orange came back by driving five at an Invercargill meeting a few days later so they head to Addington tonight with Orange leading by two.

“Blair will be bloody hard to beat,” admits John.

“I think I am driving well enough and I’d love to win it but I can’t travel as much as Blair.

“I predominantly have to be here to train horses and most of my big books of drives are at Canterbury meetings whereas I had to watch Blair pop down to Southland and drive five winners just like that.

“And, of course, we all know he is a great driver.

“But if I am hanging in there come the back end of the season I will be prepared to travel to give me the best chance of winning it.”

Team Dunn takes their usual strong team to Addington tonight where John rates their best chances as Follow Your Dream (R3, No.5) and Miki’s Courage (R8, No.7).

“They are both racing well and haven’t finished winning yet,” says Dunn.

Old favourite Heisenberg is the best horse in Race seven, The Seahorse Supplements Handicap Pace, and in great form, with Dunn only wary of his 30m handicap.

“It’s only a small field so he can still win but a lot will depend on how they run the race,” says Dunn.

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