Day At The Track

Dunrobin wins Nuggets final

09:15 AM 13 May 2018 NZST
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Dunrobin,Harness racing
Dunrobin after winning at Winton
Photo Bruce Stewart

She looks at least a year away from maturing, so two wins in three starts this season have been a big bonus for the connections of nice filly Dunrobin who won the $12,000 Ryal Bush Transport Nuggets Final at Winton today.

"She's a very light framed filly so that's her last start for the season. She can go out now and grow up and come back next season. She's got a bit more of a turn of speed than the others (out of the mare) so hopefully that'll follow on into next season. She had to sprint hard to catch them today," said trainer Brent Shirley.

From barrier four, driver Mark Hurrell stayed out of the early rush for the front and settled the filly in the outside running line. Inside the last 300 metres Hurrell launched Dunrobin three wide to make her run. She still had a heap of ground to make up in the home straight but produced a sustained sprint to nab a game Alfie Romeo by a half a head. 

"Mark drove her an absolute treat so that was bloody great."

Hurrell is having a great run. Today's win was his eleventh of the season and seventeenth in his short career. He's currently in the top six on the New Zealand Junior Drivers table. 

Mark Hurrell getting the best out of Dunrobin (4) to beat Alfie Romeo (7) - Photo Bruce Stewart

Dunrobin, which is by Well Said out of Satire Franco, is owned by Shirley's wife Raewyn and loyal Bluffies John Edminstin and Earl Shannon.

Edminstin, surprisingly wasn't on course today, but he was out fishing. He's one of the driving forces behind next weekends Bluff Oyster and Food Festival so getting seafood had to take priority. 

Shirley said the 'road to the races' hasn't been easy for Dunrobin but that's been the case for all of Satire Franco's foals.

"The whole family have been hard. They're horrible yearlings, terrible two year olds and pain the arse three year olds. But they mature into nice four year olds. They're not dirty but it's a lot of work just getting them going. If they show something at three you're usually looking at getting a nice four year old."

Two races later one of the forgotten horses of Southland harness racing Fiddlethefool made an unexpected return to the races for Shirley. He's been away from racing since his win on this course in December 2016. It was thought that he wouldn't race again.

From his twelve starts he'd won four races and ran second behind Heaven Rocks at the Northern Southland meeting in March 2016. 

The now the five year old has been gelded and his new part-owner Grant Shirley said that was because he had intended to use the horse as a hack for his children.

Grant has done the majority of work with the horse and now owns him with Pat Langford, Mark and Martha Hogan and Raewyn Shirley.

"Martha's in the syndicate because she gelded him," said Brent. 

The horse's excellent third today is testament to Grant's ground work and Brent's finishing qualities.

"He broke down and has been away from racing for eighteen months. He was forward and working as good as he's ever worked. His aim is the Bluff Cup," said Brent. 

Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness Racing


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