Young Dexter has DUNN it

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 05:00 01/12/2012

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Breaking records is not unknown territory for Dexter Dunn but the whiz-kid of New Zealand harness racing took his career to a new level last night.

After a frustrating week where he was camped on 999 winners, Dunn last night become the youngest and fastest driver to reach 1000 wins in New Zealand.

He notched up the milestone in the first race at last night's Addington meeting aboard the Kevin Townley- trained No Potato.

The usually reserved horseman unleashed a massive flourish of the whip as he cut loose some previously bottled-up emotions after his charge had claimed the win.

The win caps more than half a decade of Dunn dominance, a period in which he has controlled all aspects of the New Zealand harness racing scene.

After beginning his driving career in Australia working under Andy Gath, Dunn returned home during Cup Week in 2007 and immediately made his mark on the harness racing scene.

His first win in New Zealand came with Crusader Franco by a compelling margin of 4 lengths - a sign of what was to come over the next few years.

Other than an early glitch in his career when he struggled early on, it's been one incredible ride ever since.

He notched up 204 winners in just his second full season of driving - the most successful season for a jockey or a driver in New Zealand.

A lot of the success can be attributed to Dunn's level-headedness.

Fame and success have not caught up with the 23-year-old. He's kept his head down and gone about his work in a professional fashion.

The credit for that can be given to his parents, Robert and Rose Dunn, who have been right there for their son from day one.

But easily the biggest contributor to the Dexter Dunn story has been West Melton horseman Cran Dalgety, who took a punt on the fresh-faced teenager and employed him for the driving duties on his racing team - most of which carry six-figure price tags.

Together, the pair are the most lethal combination in harness racing and they have forged a partnership which demands respect no matter the horse or the location.

And while last night's milestone was clearly the main aim for the current racing season, should things continue on their current path Dunn could be staring down the barrel of yet another record breaking season.

His current statistics for this season are ahead of where they were at a similar time in any of his other years in the sulky, meaning if luck stays on his side then his incredible season of 2010-2011, when he drove 220 winners, could be surpassed.

But no-one would really be surprised if that eventuated.

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After all, this is Dexter Dunn we are talking about.

- The Press

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