Dunn Is Just Thinkin’ About A Derby

Just Thinkin’ announced himself as a genuine Victorian Derby contender with his win in the Listed Dulcify Stakes on Saturday (Lisa Grimm)


“I’d love to tell you how smart we are, but you always need a lot of luck in this game.”

After cheering home his home-bred, Just Thinkin’ in Saturday’s Listed Dulcify Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill Gardens, Peter Dunn is the first to admit that he’s had Lady Luck sitting in his corner … particularly over the last 12 months or so.

It was in September 2018 that Dunn and his wife, June, started to believe they had a genuine $1.5 million Group One Victoria Derby contender following the victory of Thinkin’ Big in the Group Three Gloaming Stakes over 1800m.

Thinkin’ Big would then run third in the Group One Spring Champion Stakes and win – by three lengths – the Group Three Norman Robinson Stakes at Caulfield after leading throughout.

Unfortunately, Thinkin’ Big would fade to 12th in the Victoria Derby, but was subsequently sold to Hong Kong where he is now in the stable of Frankie Lor and considered a genuine contender for next year’s Hong Kong Derby.

Fast forward the clock to around 2.40pm Saturday though and Thinkin’ Big’s year younger, three quarter brother, Just Thinkin’ had just saluted in the Dulcify carrying the Dunn’s white and bottle green silks. And just like Thinkin’ Big, Just Thinkin’ is a bold front runner who can now claim two wins and a third from four outings.

“That was a terrific win on Saturday and we couldn’t be more pleased,” Dunn enthused. “He’ll follow a similar path to Thinkin’ Big in that he’s likely to run in the Gloaming and Spring Champion before, hopefully, a tilt at the Derby. What’s even more encouraging is that Just Thinkin’ has had a much more favourable and well spaced prep than Thinkin’ Big did last year: in their usual fashion, Gai (Waterhouse) and Adrian (Bott) have done a truly professional job with the horse and are pretty confident about his chances in the spring.”

The Dunns have four in work with Waterhouse and Bott, but scaled back their breeding operation in recent years to just the solitary mare … Nothin’ Leica Cat.

Purchased for $150,000 at the 2007 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Nothin’ Leica Cat ran second in the Group One Queensland Oaks and fourth in the Group One Australian Oaks, but she has been an even better broodmare for the Dunns.

Nothin’ Leica Cat’s first foal – the High Chaparral colt, Stampede – won seven races including the Group Three BRC Chairman’s Handicap and Listed Wagga Gold Cup … the third foal, a full brother to Stampede, is Thinkin’ Big, and now Just Thinkin’ who becomes the 20th stakes winner for Coolmore Stud’s So You Think, a son of High Chaparral.

“We might only have the one mare these days, but what a mare! Nothin’ Leica Cat produced four colts in a row and then a So You Think filly, that’s in work with Gai and Adrian, who recently turned two,” Dunn explains. “After four straight colts, we are excited to have a So You Think filly who could possibly carry on the family, as So You Think has had Group One winners like La Bella Diosa, Sopressa and Nakeeta Jane, but Nothin’ Leica Cat also has a beautiful American Pharoah colt at Coolmore, she’s in foal to American Pharoah and will be heading back to him this spring.”

Dunn revealed last year that he had named Thinkin’ Big both in memory of Bart Cummings’ 1974 and 1975 Melbourne Cup winner, Think Big and as a not too subtle reference to his own aspirations of winning Australia’s greatest race.

“High Chaparral has a proven record with stayers (also sire of 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling), while So You Think is getting the job done in that regard too,” Dunn points out. “On top of that, Nothin’ Leica Cat would have run two miles on her head.

“Thinkin’ Big might not have made it to a Melbourne Cup, but I’m just thinkin’ that Just Thinkin’ could make the big step up. It’s a long way to go, but lady luck is doing her best to help us out so far!”

The Power of Passion