Dexter Dunn After a breath taking season in North America in 2019, Dexter Dunn has continued his excellent driving form again in 2020. An outstanding reinsman whose winning performances worldwide already total in excess of 3,100 victories, Dexter is the youngest horseperson to be inducted into the Addington Harness Hall of Fame.

A native of Christchurch recently turned thirty one, Dexter Dunn’s accomplishments as a harness racing driver accumulating victories at a record pace belying his age. Harness racing is a family affair for the Dunns. Dexter’s father, Robert, was leading trainer for the 2019/20 season in New Zealand (career 1,598 wins) with brother John among the top drivers in the country (career 1,185 wins to date) finishing in the premiership’s top five each of the past eight seasons. Rugby has also been another sporting feature of Dunn’s life.

Dexter DunnLeaving school at sixteen and after taking horses to Auckland for six weeks, Dexter attained a job in Australia where he stayed for a year. Commencing driving on his seventeenth birthday (1 September 2006, opening day of Australian season) he finished second at Kilmore before three weeks later recording his first win for Andy Gath on The Ultimate One at Geelong. After six months driving in Australia he returned home to New Zealand to work for Cran Dalgety which became a very successful partnership. Dexter’s first season (2006/7) was split between Australia and New Zealand producing seventeen victories (ten Australia, seven NZ) and was the launchpad for future success.

Dexter Dunn’s impressive and extensive CV of achievements includes :

New Zealand

NZ Stats

– 2,226 winners (354 trotters), NZ$22,019,704 – Addington (585), Forbury Park (422), Alexandra Park (71). Twenty eight Group One victories (Addington eight; Alexandra Park eleven; Cambridge seven; Ashburton two) with multiple Jewels, NZSS, Messenger, Taylor Mile, Easter Cup wins.

First NZ win - Crusader Franco, Ashburton Cup Week Thursday 16 November 2006, tr Robert Dunn

Major NZ winners –

Christen Me – Taylor Mile, Messenger, Jewels - 4, NZFFA, Auckland/Easter Cups

Field Marshal - Taylor Mile, Messenger, Jewels – 4

Sheemon - Jewels – 4T, National Trot, ANZAC Cup

Smiling Shard - NZSS – 2, Jewels -2

Locharburn - NZ Derby, Easter Cup

Onlyforyou - NZSS – 2f, Jewels – 2f

Franco Nelson - Jewels – 4; Time To Fly - Breeders Stakes; Rona Lorraine - Caduceus Club Classic – 2f; Beaudiene Bad Babe – Jewels – 4m;, Orl Black - Welcome

Stakes; Texican - NZSS – 3; Mustang Mach - Messenger; Donegal Bettorgretch - Jewels – 3T; Raukapuka Ruler - GN Derby; Pats Delight - Jewels 3

Footnote : NZ Cup best is second with Bettors Strike to Monkey King 2009, beaten neck.

New Zealand

Aus Stats

- 55 winners, A$3,441,911. First Australian win – The Ultimate One, Geelong 20 September 2006, tr Andy Gath.

Major Australian winners:

Christen Me - Hondo Grattan Stakes, Chariots Of Fire, Hunter Cup, Miracle Mile, Bendigo Cup, Victoria Cup

Bettors Strike - Cranbourne Cup, Victoria Cup, Tasmania Cup

Bit Of A Legend - Breeders Crown 2 and 3

Katy Perry - Tatlow Stakes, Breeders Crown 2f

Nek Time – QLD and Gold Coast Oaks

Smiling Shard - Breeders Crown – 2; Our Renezmae - Breeders Crown 2fT; Let It Ride - QLD Blacks A Fake

Two time winner of annual Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship conducted by the Horsham Harness Racing Club.

North America

Since commencing driving full time in North America from mid Aug 2018 and basing himself with family friend and former Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder, Dexter Dunn already has over seven hundred North American career wins. In his first full North American season (USA and Canada), the red and black clad driver (Canterbury colours) was named 2019 US Harness Writers’ Association driver of the year. This award was the result of winning 460 races and more than $12.071 million in purses, ranking him eighth in wins and third in earnings (behind Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras) among all drivers on the continent. He received his award at the Dan Patch Awards banquet in February 2020 at Orlando, Florida.

Driving for ex Kiwis Chris Ryder and Richard (Nifty) Norman and leading USA trainers Nancy Takter, Ron Burke, Mark Harder, Tony Alagna among others, Dunn has confirmed his status as one of the hottest reinsman in North America.

Among his North American highlights to date are :

NA Stats

2011 – 7 $.145m (prior to and including World Drivers Championships (WDC), New York/New Jersey)

2017 – 2 $.018m (WDC/Canada)

2018 – 93 $1.564m

2019 – 460 $12.071m

2020 - 280 $7.173m (to 4 October 2020) – 9th for wins and leader on stakes

Total : 842 US$20.971m

2020 Grand Circuit driver rankings : 473 points, first. In early September 2020 Dunn was leading money winning driver in NA, a position he retained as at 4

October, $750k ahead of Tim Tetrick and $900k ahead of Yannick Gingras.

First USA win was at the Meadowlands on McClelland for Aaron Lambert on 25 June 2011, a month before WDC commenced (still Junior Driver in NZ until 1 August 2011). This was part of two month spell spent in North America in 2011 resulting in seven wins.

Rest of World :

World Drivers Championships -

In 2015, Dexter Dunn representing New Zealand drove off with the World Driving Championship trophy winning five of the twenty championship races in Sydney/NSW (three wins at Wagga, one at Bathurst and one on 2015 Interdominion Grand Final day at TABCorp Park, Menangle).

Dunn had earlier represented NZ at the 2011 championships in New York finishing fourth (won at Tioga Downs) when youngest ever NZ representative and again when defending his WDC title in Canada in 2017 again finishing fourth (won at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island).

Ireland :

Dexter Dunn has taken part in the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway in Ireland. In 2016 he stole the show over the two day meeting with his four winners. These included an upset in the very last race of the day in the inaugural Vincent Delaney Memorial final for 2-year-old filly pacers, sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm and the Adam Bowden Family of Kentucky. Dunn who had qualified two horses for the final on Saturday selected the right choice with IB Coyote.

Summary :

In fourteen seasons, Dexter Dunn to 4 October 2020 has amassed 3,127 victories world-wide :

New Zealand – 2,226 wins NZ$22,019,704

Australia – 55 wins AUS$3,441,911

North America – 842 wins US$20.971m

Ireland – 4 wins unknown

Total Wins : 3,127 wins, approx. NZ$57.5m

Compiled as at 5 October 2020.