Nervousness and excitement in two-year-old racing is usually the domain of horses but small-time bush trainer Rebecca Dunn admits she is feeling both emotions as she prepares to saddle her first city runner.
Keep On Charging is the $251 outsider for Saturday’s $150,000 Golden Gift at Rosehill but the home-bred underdog who is Dunn’s sole horse in work has the right attitude to back up his strong trackwork, she says.
Dunn runs a jill-of-all-trades operation at Cessnock which aside from training thoroughbreds also produces show horses which compete at a high level.
That is as well as revamping thoroughbreds for other trainers, pre-training and breaking.
“We’ve kind of got our finger in every other pie which is horse orientated,” Dunn said.
“It’s a good lifestyle. I love it.”
Dunn’s path to training began with show horses before she started working for Gordon Yorke and Kris Lees.
“I’ve kind of always been around horses,” she said.
When Central Coast-based owners Michael and Carol D’Silva approached Dunn about three years ago to take on Keep On Charging’s sister Make Mine A Dubleo she decided to take out her trainers’ licence.
The D’Silvas and their daughter Nicole race Keep On Charging who finished fourth of five runners in a two-year-old maiden at Muswellbrook on October 30.
Dunn said the bridle slipped through his mouth, dashing any hopes of finishing closer to dominant winner Junglized.
The Golden Gift is a major step up, but Dunn says Keep On Charging is one of only four of the 11 runners with raceday experience which can be crucial for early two-year-olds.
“I just thought while he’s up, he’s going and he’s sound we’d give it a crack down in the big smoke,” Dunn said.
“We’re going down there to take on the big guns – the better-bred horses and good trainers – but he is a two-year-old who does everything correct so we thought we’d give it ago.”
Apprentice jockey Andrew Adkins’ father and manager Brett called Dunn to ask if his son could ride Keep On Charging and she was only too happy to repay a favour.
“His father has always been very good with me with my horses and other jockeys he’s had,” Dunn said.
While she accepts his outsider status means anything he can do is a bonus, there is always cause to dream.
“With two-year-olds you just never know what can and can’t happen,” Dunn said.