Key role for Dunn in two features

Royal Bengal and driver Dexter Dunn will attempt to repeat their Gore Cup success in today's Roxburgh Cup. Photo: Wild Range Photography
Royal Bengal and driver Dexter Dunn will attempt to repeat their Gore Cup success in today's Roxburgh Cup. Photo: Wild Range Photography
Champion reinsman Dexter Dunn will play a key role in today's two features races at Roxburgh.

The driver will seek back-to-back cup race successes behind Royal Bengal in the Roxburgh Cup.

Dunn produced an inch-perfect drive on the Ken and Tony Barron-trained pacer to win the Gore Cup on December 27.

The win helped the leading reinsman continue his hot form over the Christmas and New Year racing period.

Dunn has driven 14 winners since December 23, five more than any other driver in the country.

The victory has enabled him to close the gap on his on-track nemesis and off-track friend Blair Orange in the national drivers' premiership.

Dunn sits on 65 wins for the season, 27 wins behind the chart-topping Orange.

Royal Bengal's chance in today's cup will rest on race tempo, Tony Barron said.

''The horse is bright and healthy and working very well.

''But it just depends on how much work the front line make us work, that is going to be the biggest thing.

''If they make the backmarkers work like they have been in these kind or races lately it will be tough.''

Royal Bengal is one of two 20m markers with six horses in front of them on the front line and 10m marks.

Behind all of them is Delishka on 30m.

The pacer is looking to give trainer Brad Mowbray a cups double of his own after he won Tuesday's Central Otago Cup with Tiger Thompson.

Today's race poses a new challenge for his charge.

Delishka is having her first standing start and is looking to win her first race past 2200m in today's 2700m contest.

Dunn's silky smooth hands will play an essential part in today's feature trot at Roxburgh.

He combines again with the Tony Stratford-trained War Machine who be looking to redeem himself in the race.

The horse galloped out of contention on Gore Cup day when staging a big run from the rear of the field.

If Dunn can get the horse around the tight Roxburgh track in one piece the horse must be a huge winning chance.

The Gore event was scripted to show punters whether War Machine or Smokey Mac was the star trotter of the moment.

However, both were defeated by Mass Invasion who will again square off with the pair today.

Smokey Mac should strip a fitter horse today as his Gore run was his first start in more than 70 days.

Canterbury trotter Arran Chief adds even more intrigue to today's event.

The Andrew Faulks-trained gelding faces a drop in class after recently competing in Addington free-for-all company.

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