We Walk By Faith, pictured)a comfortable winner at Addington Friday,had  extended a remarkable SIres Stakes record for Dennis and Mark Dunford with his second in the two year Final on Tuesday. 

Rarely if ever have owners buying one horse a year had such a strike rate in the sought after series for two and three year olds.

It didn’t start that well, the combination’s first horse Steve McQueen which was raced in partnership by Dennis.It  was otherwise a wonderful start for him , winning a rich Sales Pace (Harness Million) in a string of 2yo form  but he could only manage 7th in the Sires Stakes Final, quinellaed by stablemates Fiery Falcon and Ohoka Arizona

HANDS CHRISTIAN was a star for the owners, a horse who came back from two tendon operations to match the best in races like the Easter Cup which he won.

Hands Christian, who had had one start at 2 in March, built up to the 3yo Final of 2010 in which he came with a mighty run to go down to age group leader Gold Ace by half a head, running the same horse to the same margin in the Harness Jewels. Later in the  Easter Cup he beat Terror to Love and Gold Ace

MARK DENNIS ran a bold 5th  in the three year old final a few years later and was soon sold to Australia.He was the first All Star home that year.It was his last start in New Zealand, joining the  Lance Justice team.He proved well sold but he had a long career in most Australian states clocking up no less than 283 starts to win over $340,000


YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH,already Group placed,blotted the copybook somewhat only being 10th in the three year old Final in 2016 but to be fair the stable again quinellaed the race with Ultimate Machete and More the Better, the winner running a sensational 2.16.5 for the 1950.When you compare that to Chase A Dream’s 2.22 for 1980m last Tuesday it doesn’t make the latter seem quite as impossible as it looked.

The next Dunford graduate was ALL U NEED IS FAITH and he ran in both 2 and 3 year old finals. He ran 5th in the 2yo final and, driven by Nathan, 4th in the 3yo, chasing Chase Auckland and King of Swing home. He later won the Cup Day Junior FFA adding to the Dunford interest in the day over the years. He ran a gallant fifth in the Auckland Cup before going overseas.

Since then its been two wins and an “almost” . ITS ALL ABOUT FAITH won the 2020 3yo Final thanks to a superb Mark Purdon drive. An early Captain Treacherous he was difficult to train wanting to get on with the job rather than saving resources and a lot of time and effort went into to making him tractable.

Because of that the Sires Stakes was by a margin his best win but a win is a win.

DON’T STOP DREAMING the first horse the Dunfords have raced in partnership since Steve McQueen, took the 2yo final out last year and the 3 yo this year and on Tuesday the unheralded  pre race WE WALK BY FAITH lost by a nostril to Chase a Dream. And he keeps getting better.

Lets just repeat. These guys buy one horse a year  and have had at least 10 starters in Finals over the years. 

On percentages,who can match that ?

What is the secret ?

“We leave it all to Mark” Dennis says. He sorts them out we work on a budget and we never interfere in the training or racing programme. It seems to work”

Amen to that 


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