Chch parties for Cup and Show Week

19:47, Nov 12 2012
Dexter Dunn will put on a suit and party on Cup Day but says his 'main outfit' is his driving gear.
BIG DAY: Dexter Dunn will put on a suit and party on Cup Day but says his 'main outfit' is his driving gear.

Fun, fashion, gambling and racing. It's Cup Day and Christchurch is ready to party.

» Download sweepstake

Later, top reinsman Dexter Dunn will change out of his silks and into a suit to join the revellers. But first the "pin-up boy of harness racing" has some work to do.

The preparations are over. The suits have been pressed, the dresses have been agonised over. We've booked the day off, we've studied the form and now it's time for Christchurch's biggest annual party.

But for 23-year-old Dexter Dunn preparing for Cup Day has been a little more taxing.

Over recent months, Dunn has endured countless early morning training sessions, trials, and trips throughout the country, all leading him to the pinnacle of harness racing - the New Zealand Trotting Cup.

Advertisement

Today Dunn will begin the final leg of an extraordinary journey. He is only 10 wins away from driving his thousandth winner, something only a dozen drivers in the history of New Zealand harness racing have achieved.

His father, Robert Dunn, is a horse trainer, an occupation that "made it pretty hard" for the young Dunn to avoid a career in the industry.

"It's something I've known all my life," Dexter Dunn said. "It's the only thing I'm qualified to do. I wouldn't have a clue what I'd do if I wasn't doing this."

Today, he will arrive at Addington dressed in a suit.

But "it doesn't stay on very long", he said. "My outfit for Cup Day is my driving gear really.

"The big races give you a huge buzz and racing at Cup Day with 20-odd thousand people there is definitely a thrill, especially if you win."

Between 11am and 6pm, Dunn will take part in 10 races. He will drive Stunin Cullen in the New Zealand Trotting Cup and will be completely focused on the task at hand.

But afterwards he will put his suit back on and kick back with countless other Cantabrians to enjoy the festivities.

"I'm looking forward to having a few drinks and relaxing," he said.

The Press