Busy weekend for Dunn
Kindergarten Stakes runner Say My Name is one of 26 horses trainer Robert Dunn will race or trial from today to Sunday.
Race meetings with Dunn representatives competing are at Hororata (today), Wyndham (tomorrow), Menangle (Sydney, tomorrow night) and Timaru (Sunday). The Woodend Beach trainer is trialling horses at Rangiora tomorrow.
He has held a high opinion of Say My Name since spotting him at the yearling sales in Christchurch 12 months ago.
''He was an outstanding looking horse at the sale, tall and had a lot of muscle in his shoulders and rear end,'' Dunn said yesterday.
Christchurch owner Ross Gordon paid $77,500 for the son of Art Major.
Say My Name became a favourite for the Kindergarten at Wyndham by finishing a gutsy third in the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton on February 8. He was three wide without cover from the 750m and rallied bravely to finish two and a-half lengths from winner Follow The Stars.
Follow The Stars was a second outside the 2-year-old colts and geldings' national record for one mile when clocking 1:53.8. The leaders' final 800m required 57.3 and 400m 27.7.
Dunn reckoned Say My Name had improved since the Sapling.
The horseman has vivid memories of his horse, National Glory, winning the 1988 Kindergarten (2400m stand) after losing 100m at the start.
''He was reversing when the barrier went,'' Dunn said.
''I only caught them (rivals) with a half to go. I was an amazing run.''
Lyndon Robert, trained by Dunn, finished third behind Lord Manhattan (winner) and Matai Skipper in the 1982 Kindergarten.
Ohoka raider Bettor Pay Me has been stabled at Brett Gray's Makarewa property since Sunday preparing for tomorrow's classic. The colt's trainer, Paul Kerr, is gunning for his fourth Kindergarten after winning with Alta Christiano (2012), Pay Me Christian (2005) and Karmic Reward (1994).
Bettor Pay Me came south in the care of his driver and Kerr's son, Mitchell.
''He's thrived on the trip,'' said Mitchell, who was grateful to Gray for hosting the Kerr team.
Bettor Pay Me, who makes his race debut in the Kindergarten, was found to be ''a bit crook'' after winning an Addington trial on February 4. He recovered well with treatment.
''We're pretty confident he'll give a good account in the Kindergarten,'' Paul Kerr said.
''He follows pace really well. It won't matter how quick they go.''
Being drawn seven in the Kindergarten would make Pulp Fiction's task difficult, Lorneville trainer Tony Stratford said.
''He'll probably have to go back and make a mid-race move.''
With good luck in the running, Pulp Fiction has the class to fight out the finish.
He won his first start with a polished display at Ascot Park on January 25 and went on to finish a pleasing fourth in the Sapling. Pulp Fiction raced wide in that race and hit the line strongly.
Stratford has a good record in the Kindergarten having trained the 2010 winner Le Sol and placegetters Howzat (2011) and Flying Diamonds (2009).
- The Southland Times