Grafton, Kensington previews: Matthew Dunn looking to Snitz to cause Ramornie boilover

Trainer Matthew Dunn has dominated racing in the region for years but surprisingly he is a stranger to big-race success at the Grafton Cup Carnival.

But Dunn is hopeful for a change of fortune when he chases the Grafton feature race double this week.

Dunn has specifically set Snitz for the Listed $200,000 Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday then new stable recruit Laure Me In lines up in Thursday’s Listed $200,000 The Maclean Hotel Grafton Cup (2350m).

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Trainer Matthew Dunn is looking for a change of fortune when he sends Snitz and Laure Me In to Grafton on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Photo: AAP ImageSource:AAP

“I’ve had lots of luck at Grafton – all bad!” Dunn said.

“Over the years, I’ve only had limited runners in the Grafton Cup but I’ve had a couple of cracks at the Ramornie but no joy there, either.

“I’ve won a ‘thousand’ premierships in the Northern Rivers but we haven’t been able to win their two feature races yet.”

Dunn, who retains his Murwillumbah stables but spends more time at his Warwick Farm training base these days, has talented Snitz primed for the Ramornie Handicap but their chances were dealt a body blow when the sprinter drew barrier 18. He will start from 14 after scratchings.

Snitz is having his second attempt at the Ramornie after finishing ninth in Grafton’s feature sprint last year.

His form this campaign has been mixed with a very good second to Enchanted Heart in the Takeover Target Stakes sandwiched between disappointing efforts in the Hawkesbury Rush and At Sea Handicap.

“I sent Snitz to Paul Fudge’s place at Bong Bong Farm after his last start and he spent some time on the water walker and freshened up really well,” Dunn said.

“His work has been good since; he looks great and is in the right head space. I think that’s the main thing at this stage of his career, to keep him happy.”

Recent stable addition, Laure Me In (centre), looks suited in the Grafton Cup on Thursday. Photo: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Snitz is rated at $26 in latest TAB Fixed Odds betting for the Ramornie Handicap. Emerging sprinter Phobetor, winning of six of his 10 starts, is early favourite at $4.40 ahead of Garibaldi at $6.

The Dunn stable has a strong representation at the Ramornie meeting with Divine Eleven ($3.40 favourite) and Astralis ($21) clashing in the Class 2 Showcase Handicap (1600m), Nishikori ($5.50) lines up in the Class 2 Showcase Handicap (1100m) and Storm Attack ($41) contests the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1400m).

Dunn, who has prepared 99 winners so far this season, is also looking forward to the Grafton Cup on Thursday where Laure Me In has his third start for the trainer.

Laure Me In indicated he was right on target for the feature race when a close fifth in Happy Go Lucky’s Ipswich Cup. The Dunn stayer is at $9 in latest Grafton Cup betting behind favourite Purrfect Deal at $3.90.

“I thought Laure Me went well at Ipswich,” Dunn said.

“His last two runs he has encountered firm tracks and it is just holding him back a bit.”

The Grafton track surface is a soft 6 for the Ramornie meeting and should have the cushion it needs for Laure Me In to be effective on Thursday.

Laure Me In, winner of the Scone Cup earlier this preparation, hasn’t won beyond 1850m but closed strongly at Ipswich at the end of 2150m giving Dunn encouragement the gelding will run the Grafton Cup distance of 2350m strongly.


Trainer Bjorn Baker believes he has made the right call saving Miss Jay Fox for the Vinery Stud Handicap (1150m) at Kensington on Wednesday.

Miss Jay Fox was entered for the Rosehill meeting last Saturday but was a race morning scratching after drawing wide.

Although Miss Jay Fox has barrier 10 for the Kensington race, Baker confirmed the emerging filly is a definite starter.

“I’m not as worried about Miss Jay Fox’s barrier at Kensington as I was at Rosehill,” Baker said.

“There is not quite as much early speed in this race and when I watched the Rosehill race, I was quite happy we didn’t run as it would have been tough on her. This is a more suitable race.”

Baker could have three runners in the race with Turnstyle ($5) and He’s A Hotshot ($19) also entered to take on stablemate Miss Jay Fox ($8).

“I’m just debating what I do with Turnstyle because I’ve got her entered for Randwick on Saturday,” Baker said.

“But He’s A Hotshot, back on soft, improving ground is a proper chance. On a much better track he’s a totally different horse.”

Bjorn Baker believes Miss Jay Fox (right) is suited at Kensington on Wednesday. Photo: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Baker confirmed O’Mudgee, a good third to Papal Warrior at Rosehill last weekend, will back up in the TAB Handicap (1550m).

“O’Mudgee is in great order, he is bucking his brands off,” Baker said.

“I think he will be helped by the improving track. He has been running well on wet tracks but can go to a new level on a better surface.”

Baker also withdrew Bring The Ransom from the Rosehill meeting to save her for the Agency Real Estate Handicap (1400m).

“She’s a mare that has improved with racing and I’m confident we have made the right decision to wait for this race,” he said. “She should run very well.”

Meanwhile, Baker confirmed Rosehill winner Spencer will join stablemate Parry Sound in the Listed $200,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) at Grafton on Thursday.

“We won’t change anything with Spencer, we will be positive with him like we were at Rosehill,” Baker said. “He won well last Saturday and has pulled up in great order.

“Parry Sound is drawn a little awkwardly, he will need a touch of luck getting over and finding cover, but he is in great form and I couldn’t be happier with him going into the Grafton Cup.”

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Originally published asGrafton, Kensington previews: Dunn hopes for a change of luck

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