Dunn pulls off outside chance
Australian rider Dwayne Dunn burst out of the gloom at Sha Tin yesterday with a treble as he led the way to the outside fence.
Dunn won the opener coming down the centre of the track on Favourite Express for Geoff Lane then surged down the outer to score on Meridian Star in the featured Panasonic Cup but he went even too wide for the cameras to win the eighth on the David Hayes-trained Tom's First.
Punters watching the television coverage saw little of Tom's First until the dying stages, with Super Sprint against the inside rail appearing to have moved well clear at the 200 metres.
But, as the cameras panned back to show the whole course, Dunn was all but giving out high fives to the crowd leaning over the outside running rail as he led the group of three charging home hard up against it.
The group out there eventually provided first, second (Brave Knight) and fourth (My Favourite) in the race with Super Sprint narrowly nudged out of second on the finish line.
'It was a deliberate, planned move to go right to the outside,' Dunn said. 'I'd come quite wide to win on Meridian Star in the previous race but we knew he would handle the wet and he came down the used part of the track.
'With Tom's First, we thought there was some doubt about him handling the going so David just said to get right to the outside, get first use of that fresh ground out there and hope he would handle that. I still don't think he is a wet tracker but he got through that all right.'
Hayes said the going had been of considerable concern prior to racing. 'And it was all chopped up closer in, so we thought why not try the fresh ground that hasn't been cut about?' he said. 'I like the way Tom's First finished off the race even though he wasn't really suited. He's very genuine this horse.'
It was the fifth win for the gelding by Danehill Dancer and the second at 1,400 metres. 'He had a hairline fracture in a leg last season at one stage but with rest he has come back well,' Hayes said.
Dunn's earlier winner, Favourite Express, is a horse he has had a bit to do with in the past with three rides on him for two minor placings, but he managed to convert up yesterday. Trainer Lane had taken until last Wednesday week to notch up win number one for the season but followed up for another with Favourite Express, who had put the writing on the wall first-up for the season when second down the straight sprint course.
'He had run very well in the 1,000-metre race behind Bacchus when he was just outpaced,' Dunn said. 'This was more his distance today but that was also the worry with him, stepping up quickly from 1,000 metres to 1,400 metres. And in the end, that concern showed out in his win.'