11/14/2013 2:05PM

Dover: Campbell has a strong hand in Matron with Sunshine Beach, Nuncio

Derick Giwner
Sunshine Beach must overcome post eight in his Matron final on Sunday.

One-time Captaintreacherous conqueror, Sunshine Beach, looks for another major stakes victory on Sunday night in the $160,388 Matron Pace for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, one of eight Matron finals Sunday at Dover Downs. The son of Somebeachsomewhere drew the outside post eight, the same spot he started from in an epic second-place finish in this year’s Breeders Crown.

John Campbell will once again be in the bike for trainer Mark Steacy, but he appears to be extremely confident in the horse.

“He’s been good every time I’ve sat behind him,” said Campbell, “He’s a big powerful colt, I was fortunate I got to drive him.”

[DRF HARNESS: Dover Sunday Analysis]

Sunshine Beach defeated Captaintreacherous in the Battle of the Brandywine but finished behind him in the Breeders Crown after a head-to-head duel during final half.

“I expected to get parked,” said Campbell about starting from post eight in the Crown. “I was hoping to get second- or third-over cover. When that didn’t develop I had to let him pace the last three-eighths. He raced great.”

Last week Campbell put Sunshine Beach on the front end and the pair smartly circled the Dover oval in 1:50 1/5 without an anxious moment.

On Sunday, Sunshine Beach will have to deal with Vegas Vacation and perhaps Dedi’s Dragon, the only other horse in the sophomore class with a victory over Captaintreacherous. Vegas Vacation drew post seven while Dedi’s Dragon landed post two for driver Yannick Gingras in the evening’s tenth race.

Campbell also has high expectations for Nuncio, his mount in the $166,650 Matron for juvenile trotting colts and geldings carded as race three on the 15-race program that begins at 5:30 p.m.

“He was a little bit more aggressive last week than I would like,” said Campbell about the first-year son of Andover Hall. “He was aggressive in the Breeders Crown elimination too, but he settled down and raced well in the Crown final.”

Nuncio defeated division leader Father Patrick early in the season and has exuded high-class ability with four wins in eight tries this season.

“It’s hard to find two-year-old trotters as fast as he is,” said Campbell. “He’s got a lot of power. If we can get him to settle and relax and race off cover, he’ll be that much better.”

Nuncio trotted his first half in :55 1/5 in last week’s elimination race and came a final half in 1:00 1/5 while appearing quite comfortable crossing the wire. He drew post four and may get a challenge early from Don Dorado (post one), the beaten favorite in the other Matron elimination last week. Don Dorado, a gelded son of Donato Hanover, has made breaks in his last two starts but showed speed with four victories this year in stakes competition.

At times Nuncio has looked very much like Campbell’s two-year-old trotting filly Cooler Schooner on the racetrack. That world champion has shown blistering front-end speed during this campaign and also seemed unable to settle at times.

“They’re different,” said Campbell. “He’s aggressive. She’s more hyper.”

Both freshman, they have a world of talent and give Campbell much to be thankful for in this season and much to be optimistic about next year.

“I’m looking forward to next year,” said Campbell, with an obvious eye on the major trotting races.

Campbell will also be sitting behind another contender on Sunday night in the name of Somethinincredible. This daughter of Ponder drew post four in the $132,535 Matron for juvenile pacing fillies and could be rounding into form at just the right time.

“She didn’t race well in Lexington. I believe she had some respiratory issues,” said Campbell. “But she qualified back really well and she raced very well last week parked the entire mile.”

Bob McIntosh trains Somethinincredible. He’s had a long relationship with driver John Campbell and it’s no accident that the filly has bloodlines that go back to both. McIntosh trained the sire Ponder and Campbell trained and owned Keystone Shore, the great grand dam of this year’s two-year-old filly.

The Matron for two-year-old pacing fillies could be a wide-open affair. Elimination winner Ali Blue drew post seven for Yannick Gingras and Beach Body, the Breeders Crown runner-up, landed post five.

Tyra, another filly with enormous talent, landed the rail for driver Tim Tetrick. The daughter of McArdle has won five times this season racing primarily in Pennsylvania.