Dexter Dunn snaffles Australian championship
Dexter Dunn beat off some of the biggest names in Australian harness racing to win the Noel Smith Memorial Drivers Championship in Victoria on Monday night.
Driving at the Horsham track for the first time in his career, Dunn came home victorious over drivers of the ilk of Chris Alford, Chris Lewis, Gavin Lang and Greg Sugars.
However, he waited until the final heat of the three-race series to claim the title, sneaking home with Final Count to claim honours.
"I was a bit lucky in the fact two of my drives drew one, which helped," he said.
"But I led up in the first two heats, and couldn't win them but with a trail in the last, the horse was too good.
"It was really good to be a part of, especially to catch up with everyone who I have got to know so well in the last few years."
Dunn leads the New Zealand drivers premiership comfortably with 145 wins next to his name and with 2 1/2 months of the racing season still to come, it's expected that number will increase.
For now, though, he's still camped up in Australia and plans to go to game one of the State Of Origin series in Melbourne tonight.
"I managed to get some tickets so thought I would head along, I'm looking forward to it," Dunn said.
With the footy out of the way, Dunn will be back to New Zealand tomorrow in time to get to Forbury in Dunedin to take a big book of drives.
He will probably then head to Auckland and Alexandra Park on Friday night to put the final polish on Cran Dalgety's runners for the Harness Jewels at Cambridge next week.
"Cran's got four or five in up there, and with the Jewels next week, it makes sense to go up there instead of driving at Addington."
Incidents aside, there is a good chance that Dunn will add to his Harness Jewels victories this year with another strong book of drives.
Smart two-year-olds Sheemon, Abraxas and Onlyforyou hold Dunn's best keys to success next week.
The 22-year-old has two Harness Jewel victories next to his name.
He drove Smiling Shard to win in 2009 at Ashburton and then won with Beaudiene Bad Babe the following year in Cambridge.
- © Fairfax NZ News