McGuren enjoys a winning treble at Grafton
RACING: Grafton jockey Matt McGuren and Murwillumbah trainer Matt Dunn are leading their respective Northern Rivers Racing Association premierships and both showed why when they combined for two wins at Grafton on Tuesday.
Dunn (32) heads the NRRA trainer's premiership by 14 winners from Gold Coast trainers Toby and Trent Edmonds while McGuren (31) tops the NRRA jockey's premiership 12 wins in front of Andrew Mallyon after Bullet Shot nosed out Ethan Ensby's Lady Grande in today's $22,000 Exclusive Trophies Benchmark 66 Handicap (2220m).
McGuren had made much of the running in the 2220m handicap, putting pace into the event midway when he sent Bullet Shot to the front.
The five-year-old gelding, a son of Redoute's Choice then fought back to fight off Lady Grande's charge in the straight. The Ballina-trained mare had been given a perfect run by Noriyuki Masuda and popped out in the straight to hit the front, narrowly.
However, McGuren got the best out of Bullet Shot to repulse the Ethan Ensby-trained mare and grab third career win.
Murwillumbah-based Matt Dunn reckoned it a good, tough win in a "stop start race".
"He did a good job, stuck on well," Dunn said of the gelding who also lumped a topweight of 60kg, five kg more than Lady Grande.
"He doesn't quicken well and he is better on firmer ground but he got through that (Heavy 8 surface) well.
The two Matts then combined to win the third race of the day when Ready To Humble ran away from his rivals to win the Prestige Wedding & Event Hire Maiden Handicap (1206m) easily.
The three-year-old son of Rubick was having just his third start and made light of the 16 barrier.
Matt Dunn said Ready To Humble "has always shown us plenty".
It took him to 33 wins for the NRRA premiership season while McGuren's double made it 32 for the season.
McGuren made it a winning treble when he powered Hanna From Havana to her maiden win, with the three-year-old daughter of So You Think box seated throughout for McGuren to surge to victory in the $22,000 All Office & Business Maiden Plate (1710m).
She was having her 10th start and gave McGuren his third win of the day after winning aboard the Matt Dunn-trained pair Bullet Shot and Ready To Humble earlier in the day.
Port Macquarie trainer Allan Kehoe prepares Hanna From Havana and was delighted she ended her winless run in impressive fashion.
"She was cruising," he said of the filly who was just in behind the leaders.
Kehoe's main worry was that she might be boxed in however that didn't eventuate as the leaders spread and McGuren shot "Hanna" through a gaping hole to win over the middle distance.
"I think she will get 2000m," Allan Kehoe said of her future but that might not be this preparation.
"Might give her one more then tip her out," he said.
Grafton trainer Greg Howell also had a winning smile after Kid Galahad returned from a spell to win the $22,000 Valley Protective Services Class 1 Handicap (10006m).
The five-year-old gelding son of Elvstroem had not started since finishing 10th in a Grafton Class 1 over the 1206 back in September last year.
"He goes okay this horse," Greg Howells said.
"Had a lot of feet trouble last time. Had foot abscesses, five times in one foot. Had to cut half his foot away."
The gelding was given a rails hugging ride by Stephen Traecey and won well from Ohchebelcavallo with the Stephen Lee-trained Annie Ethyl a close up third.