At the age of 23, Down Under driving sensation Dexter Dunn became the youngest reinsman in New Zealand harness racing history to reach the 1,000-win milestone this past weekend at Addington Raceway.
Dunn broke the record held by Mark Jones, who reached the mark at 29 years old.
To surpass 1,000 wins it took Dunn just 5,644 drives over six years and three weeks. Of those 1,000, trainer and mentor Cran Dalgety supplied the horses for 367 wins.
Not surprisingly, Addington was Dunn’s most prolific track. A staggering 285 Addington wins made up well over a quarter of Dunn’s grand. With 168 wins, Forbury Park comes in a comfortable second. Dunn has made many successful raids to Dunedin in his relatively short career to date and it’s no surprise that his record of most wins in a day, six, was set there in 2009. A feat he’s replicated twice since.
It is little wonder why Dunn has so many fans that follow his progress. His drives run in the money 40 per cent of the time, while they win at a rate of 18 per cent. Only Mark Purdon, of the modern day drivers, sports a better UDR than Dunn. Purdon’s sits at 0.2976 versus Dunn’s 0.2817.
Along the way to the 1,000 wins, Dunn has won five national drivers premiership and represented New Zealand in a World Drivers Championship. He’s driven the winners of nine Group One races, but has yet not won a Group One on a trotter – no doubt an immediate goal to tick off.
Remarkably, at such a tender age, only Tony Herlihy and Maurice McKendry have won 100 races in a season more often. At 17 and 12 times respectively they are in a league of their own, but it will come as a major surprise if Dunn, with five already, hasn’t topped that table by the time he’s finished driving.
(With files from Harness Racing NZ)