Murwillumbah rainer Matt Dunn and jockey Matt McGuren. Photo Adam Hourigan.
Murwillumbah rainer Matt Dunn and jockey Matt McGuren. Photo Adam Hourigan.

McGuren, Dunn shooting for prelude day delight

WHEN you need a win in Northern Rivers racing, who do you turn to?

None other than leading jockey and trainer pairing Matthew McGuren and Matthew Dunn.

The pair sit on 54 wins apiece for the racing season and as they approach the prelude to the July Carnival, they’re ready to make their presence felt at the Clarence River Jockey Club once again tomorrow.

Teaming up for the last five races of seven on Westlawn Investments Grafton Cup Prelude Day, McGuren and Dunn are favourites in a number of them, and for good reason.

Four of McGuren’s last six race wins came on Dunn-trained runners and his last outing on home turf in Grafton saw him leaving with a hat-trick of wins, two for Dunn.

Contesting the Westlawn Wealth Management Grafton Guineas Prelude 3YO Benchmark 66 Handicap (1420m), McGuren will take the reins of last-start winner Dreamtime Magic as favourite over Tony Newing’s Camp Rifle and Edward O’Rourke-trained Group Think.

Fellow Grafton trainer Dwayne Schmidt’s Hyperion Star (NZ) has been in fine form, with two wins on the trot, and could be the best chance to edge the menacing Matts with a good spot in the barrier (2).

McGuren will then ride Dunn-trained Chazelles in the Race 4 1115m Class 3 handicap and Thunderous Strike in the Race 5 1215m Class 1 handicap, before pitting Snitz against Dunn stablemate Care To Think, ridden by Roy Hutchings.

But McGuren looks the heavy favourite to bring Snitz home in the John Carlton Cup.

Closing out the day in the Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude 2230m, McGuren will pilot six-year-old gelding Penshurst (Ireland), bought from Matthew Smith just over two months ago.

Penshurst was around the mark at Murwillumbah and Coffs Harbour in May but a last-start win in Grafton over a similar distance (2130m) is a very promising sign for another victory at the Clarence River club.

O’Rourke-trained Nemingah will once again look to push the field from the middle, while Stephen Lee’s Polemic could shake up the field over the long-distance race.

Dunn will place his faith in Grafton jockey Belinda Hodder for the opener after claiming a win with Maspoeta at Casino on Thursday.

Harlequin Field may be an outside chance but Hodder has proven she means business, with an incredible couple of months on the track, and could surprise a few come race day tomorrow.