Perfect Dare has staked an emphatic claim for the NSW Country Championship final with a dominant win in the first regional heat at Grafton.
One of four horses in Monday’s $150,000 race trained at Murwillumbah by Matt Dunn, Perfect Dare also dominated betting as the $2 favourite.
He didn’t let any of his supporters down, careering away for jockey Jim Byrne to a 5-1/4 length win over Free Standing ($31) who also gains a start in the final.
“He was well placed in this race at the weights but they still have to go out and do it,” Dunn told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“But he was a level above.”
The Grafton meeting was transferred from Sunday to Monday because of extreme heat.
Before his Grafton win, Perfect Dare finished a nose second to Testashadow in the $1 million Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast.
Perfect Dare is the $4.60 favourite for the final at Randwick on April 1 with Dunn’s other runners in the Grafton heat – Madam De Ban (4th) Delightful Feeling (6th) and Sunny Fame (13th) to head to the wild card second-chance race at Muswellbrook in late March.
Free Standing’s trainer Cathleen Rode was not getting ahead of herself after his second and was non-committal about bringing him to Sydney.
“We’ll see if he pulls up ok,” she said.