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Canterbury trainer James Dunn added to the incredible mark his family has made in harness racing when scoring his first win at Oamaru yesterday.
Dunn joined his father, Geoff, in a training partnership at the start of the season and took just three races to notch his maiden victory.
Dunn admitted it was a thrill to complete the feat, but indicated he would have been proud of Lottie Moon whatever her result.
“It was a good thrill; it feels a little different,” the rookie trainer said.
“But, I get pretty into all the races we have and the horses mean a lot to me.”
Dunn was on hand at his father’s stable when he was developing his star pacers Tiger Tara and Venus Serena in 2012.
That experience led to him deciding a career in harness racing was for him.
“I have been involved since I was a kid, obviously being around the horses growing up.
“Back when I was in school I was more interested in the breeding side of things.
“I left school early and then ended up working for Geoff back in 2012.
“About three or four months later we had Venus Serena at the trials and Tiger Tara at the trials and then it was just the most amazing thing — winning group 1s — and I kind of rode that.
“I always said I might have to look at doing something else, but the ride kind of didn’t end and by the time it did I was too far in.”
Dunn hopes to build his career on quality, rather than quantity, much like his father has.
“I don’t want to train big numbers. I would rather try to have nice horses.
“We have 12 here at the moment with another 10 to come in.”
Chinese Whisper completed a hat-trick of wins in the feature trot at Oamaru yesterday.
Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson barely had to ask the Sundon 5yr-old for an effort as he unleashed a scintillating 56.6sec last 800m to win.
Chinese Whisper was bred in Oamaru by Williamson’s mother, Bev.
The 5yr-old is raced by Williamson’s wife, Katie, and Southland farrier Brendan Franks.
Italian Lad made it two starts at Oamaru for two brilliant performances when winning yesterday’s Kurow Cup.
In September of last year, the then 3yr-old drifted off a hot pace before storming home to win and smash the all-comers’ track record for 2000m in just his first start.
Driver Tim Williams was not going to let the same scenario play out yesterday.
He punched the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained 4yr-old to the lead in the middle stages, before Italian Lad held out the favourite and runner-up Minstrel to win the 2600m handicap.