Dominant Dunn chases first Ramornie Hcp
AFTER scintillating seasons on the track, we all know just what Murwillumbah trainer Matt Dunn and Grafton Jockey Matthew McGuren can do when they join forces.
With 116 race wins between them for 2019/2020, it's more of a case of what haven't they won, but the $200,000 GDSC Ramornie Handicap 1200m is the next on Dunn's hit list.
"We haven't managed to win one before which is a bit frustrating," Dunn said.
"We've won plenty across the Northern Rivers but this and the Grafton Cup are two we're yet to win."
Five-year-old gelding Snitz will lead the charge for Wednesday's feature and will come in as hot favourite ($3.80), partly thanks to an impressive win in the $120,000 Debortoli Wines Takeover Target Stakes at Royal Randwick on May 9.
"The horse is looking good and healthy. He'll be coming in off some good form," Dunn said.
Opting for McGuren in the saddle, Dunn believes the region's leading jockey is the right man for the job.
"He's the guy that we use primarily in the Northern Rivers. Even when we've got our better horses in we still try to use him. We've stuck with a guy who sticks with us," he said.
Dunn was due to face some stiff competition in Toby and Trent Edmonds-trained Mr Bellagio, but the Queensland trainer scuffed his chance at a third Ramornie Handicap in a row when he scratched his sole hope late on Tuesday.
While confident, Dunn said the remaining field should give Snitz a good run in the sprint on Wednesday.
"We're going in with a good shot. In saying that, it won't be easy going up against a diverse field of runners from Brisbane and Sydney. It's a strong enough race but Snitz has got the best form," he said.
The Murwillumbah trainer will have a total of six runners take part across five races on Wednesday, with McGuren set to take the reigns for five of those chances.
Dunn goes in as favourite with Marshall Dillon in the Race 4 Jacaranda Hotel Country Showcase Country Maiden Plate 1000m and with Our Echo in the Race 5 Class 2 Showcase Handicap 1100m.
"They're all good chances. Pretty much everything is in its right race," Dunn said.
"The nice thing is they've all drawn good gates. Usually we draw some pretty crummy gates."
Dunn has had a rich run of form at the Clarence River Jockey Club this year and he hopes to repeat the same success on the big stage over the two main days of the July Carnival.
"We're in a good spot and hope we get a good track, which we usually do. It's good to see that they've got nice fields for Ramornie Day," he said.
"CRJC CEO Michael Beattie has done a good job to encourage better horses from Sydney and Brisbane. It's important to get big opposition to keep the interest up around the region."
Arcalette will be Dunn and McGuren's first shot on Wednesday as they aim to open the day with a win in the Race 2 4YO & UP Class 2 Showcase Handicap 1600m at 1.04pm.