A strong barrier trial win by Guest of Honour has boosted his new trainer’s confidence he can return to form at Eagle Farm.
A Group Two winner in England, Guest of Honour will be having his first start for trainer Matt Dunn in a 1200m-open handicap on Saturday.
The gelding was originally trained by Marco Botti and stayed in Australia after failing to finish in the 2014 Cox Plate.
Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbreds syndicate had bought Guest Of Honour and he raced on in Australia for the David Hayes-Tom Dabering training partnership.
But he failed to run a place in another 11 Australian races and it was decided to send him north.
Guest of Honour has been in Dunn’s Murwillumbah stable for the past 12 weeks and had his first trial at the Gold Coast on January 17.
He easily beat prolific short course winner Florida Fellow and the promising Bound For Love.
“It was a good trial win. He surprised me a bit because he doesn’t do much around the stables,” Dunn said.
“He obviously has some class about him so it will be interesting to see how he races on Saturday.”
Dunn isn’t locking himself into any special plans with Guest of Honour who has shown a liking for good tracks.
“On his old form he is a 1600 metre horse. If he races well on Saturday there are a couple of races for him in Brisbane. But I haven’t ruled out taking him to Sydney for the autumn carnival,” Dunn said.
Dunn has been in fine form in both Brisbane and Sydney.
He has trained 10 winners from just 22 runners in Sydney while in Brisbane he fourth on the premiership with 17 winners.