By Jonny Turner
The march towards open class continues for Steel The Show in the Geraldine Cup on Saturday.
The Robert Dunn trained pacer heads to the 2810m grass track feature following his brilliant performance to win on Show Day at Addington.
Sitting parked and then getting shuffled to the rear was not enough to stop Steel The Show from unleashing a powerful finish to beat a smart field.
With just ten starts to his name and plenty of improvement to come, the four-year-old looks on a one-way path to open class.
“He gives you the impression he is going to open class, he has got a great race record,” Robert Dunn said.
“He is a real racehorse and he keeps on surprising us every time he goes to the races.”
“We thought he might have been short of a run first up and he wasn’t.”
“He is a hell of a nice horse.”
With his good record on grass there looks to be no reason why Steel The Show can not repeat his last start performance when stepping off the all-weather on Saturday.
And if he does he is going to be exceptionally hard to beat in the Geraldine Cup.
“You would think he would be pretty hard to beat on Saturday,” Dunn said.
“It was only his third run back last time, so he should have improved a little bit from that.”
“He had a little bit of time off and I think he will keep improving as the season goes on.”
“I think he will be an open class horse and a Taylor Mile and Messenger horse later on.”
The biggest challenge facing Steel The Show on Saturday will be overcoming his 20m handicap.
The pacer is placed 10m behind his stablemate Jay Tee Tyron.
Jay Tee Tyron got back in a quickly run race on Show Day after setting up a track record speed in his prior run at Ascot Park.
Before that, the pacer missed away before producing a good effort to recover and run ninth at Addington.
The Dunn camp is hoping Jay Tee Tyron can get things his way on Saturday so he can show his true worth.
“He goes pretty well on the grass tracks, he will go a good, honest race,” Dunn said.
“We are pretty happy with him.”
“He has just had a bit of bad luck and has had hard runs from bad draws.”
“Back to the standing start over distance, he is a good staying horse, I think he will be a strong chance, too.”
Di Caprio’s mammoth effort for fifth in Self Assured’s New Zealand Cup makes him the horse to beat in the Geraldine Cup.
The Brian O’Meara trained pacer was one of the victims of the disastrous start to the race, but still managed to pick himself up and run fifth, pacing a faster last 800m than the winner.
The six-year-old, who has produced all six of career wins on grass, shares the 20m mark with Steel The Show.
William Wallace, who was fourth behind Steel The Show on Show Day looks the toughest of the front markers to beat.
Mataderos is arguably the most interesting runner stepping out at Saturday’s meeting.
The son of Dream Vacation and champion mare La Coocaracha will have his first start in New Zealand for the Dunn stable in race 5.
The half-brother to star Australian trotter, Dance Craze, won three of his 15 previous starts in moderate company in Victoria.
Mataderos galloped in his only public appearance ahead of Saturday’s race, showing he is still a work in progress.
“He was bought by Jamie McKinnon the vice-president of the Auckland Trotting Club and we were hoping he would be a good Alexandra Park horse.”
“But we struggled to get him half happy the Auckland way round.”
“He has got a bit more working out to do after his trial, but he can trot, there are no two ways about that.”
John Dunn drives both Steel The Show and Mataderos with Tim Williams taking the reins behind Jay Tee Tyron.