Rookie rider gets big chance

LOCAL trainer John Shelton has given fledgling apprentice Matthew McGuren an ideal opportunity to ride his first winner aboard Bonboniere Lady at Grafton tomorrow.

The youngster, apprenticed to Alan Ryan, is a former rodeo rider starting to make his mark in the thoroughbred world.

Bonboniere Lady lines up in the Patrick Dougherty Benchmark 55 Handicap (1000m).

Shelton, who has had a long line of successful apprentices through his stable, including Ben Looker and Adam Hyeronimus, has watched McGuren with interest since the hoop arrived in Grafton late last year.

“Matthew’s claim (4kg) will pull a bit of weight off my mare and I decided to give the young fella an opportunity,” Shelton said. “I’ve watched him ride trackwork and in a few races.

“He’s a good lad and after doing the rodeo circuit should know how to handle animals.

“He’s ridden a couple of placings from limited opportunities. It would be good if Bonboniere Lady could give him his first winner.”

The five-year-old mare ran a cracking first-up third to Swift ’n’ Dapper and Gorborchov in a 1000m Benchmark 70 Handicap at Grafton on January 14.

Shelton has been happy with the mare’s progress.

“She raced good first-up and I’ve just kept her ticking over since,” Shelton said. “She was fresh the other day and I’ve just kept her that way for Sunday.

“It looks a race with plenty of speed. I’m hoping Matthew can hold her up a bit early, get her to settle and hopefully she can get home hard like she did the other day.

“Bruce Swan’s horses Liquid Lenny, Linconi and Acquits probably hold the key to a hard race.

“I know my other horse Legal Star will also go forward and with the other speed, hopefully that will play into Bonboniere Lady’s hands.

“It’s a matter of who gets the right run and gets home best.”

Bonboniere Lady has been a consistent horse with five wins and seven placing’s from 23 starts.

“She doesn’t miss a cheque too often. It would be nice to get the big one on Sunday,” Shelton added.

The meeting was increased to nine races after Racing NSW elected to allow two events to be split.

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