By Michael Guerin
Dexter Dunn is ready to declare war on the All Stars in the two richest races at Addington tonight — but only one of them by choice.
Dunn pilots both Alta Maestro in the $170,000 Sires’ Stakes Final and Bonnie Joan in the $150,000 NZ Oaks and is adamant he will be leading and not handing up to his favoured Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained rivals.
And if that means he goes down fighting, so be it says Dunn.
“I think if I hand up to either Spankem (Sires’ Stakes) or Spanish Armada (Oaks) I am probably conceding defeat,” Dunn told the Herald.
“They are both good front runners with gate speed so I might as well use that advantage.
“So the plan is definitely to stay in front of both and I think they can both win, even though the All Stars are very hard to beat at the premiers.”
Dunn says his tactics on Bonnie Joan are bourne out of confidence gained in recent weeks, whereas with Alta Maestro the big colt probably gets the final say.
“I am not sure I could hand up on him,” admits Dunn.
“He is a hard-charging horse and I don’t really see him as a horse I could hand up on.
“He will get to the front and keep rolling and he rated 1:52.4 for the 1950m last week so I don’t think he will need to go a lot quicker.
“It probably just depends what sort of run Spankem gets whether he can beat us or not.”
Spankem has looked the best of the juvenile crop but not by much and if he has to come from further back than the one-one to run down Alta Maestro it will be a huge challenge in a race where The Devil’s Own looks the only other serious winning chance.
The Oaks has a two-horse war look to it after the scratching of Delightful Memphis, with Spanish Armada clearly superior in the Nevele R Final last Friday but Bonnie Joan outstanding in second.
Tonight Bonnie Joan looks a certain leader which suggests Spanish Armada will have to sit parked outside her to win, a place very few Oaks are won from.
With NSW and Northern Oaks winner Partyon underperforming last Friday, punters could easily make a small percentage profit by backing both Spanish Armada (book) and Bonnie Joan (tote) because it is hard to imagine that one of the two won’t win.
On a stellar night of harness racing, Enghien looks the best multi anchor, albeit adding only 20 per cent to your dividend.
One Muscle Hill is starting to get his manners right so appeals in the juvenile trot where the roughie value comes in the form of the little pro Renezmae and the talented but erratic Majestic Man.
Even a bad draw shouldn’t stop Elle Mac in the $150,000 Fillies Sales Series while the race of the night might be the main trot, with four serious four-year-old Jewels contenders up against the find of the season in Habibti Ivy.
Gate speed will be crucial but the latter could work her way to the lead and be hard to catch.
The All Stars favour Cash N Flow over Waikiki Beach in the Winter Cup while the Sires’ Stakes Sophomore is a beauty, with Let It Ride the one to beat.
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