Trainer Matt Dunn’s decision to take two juveniles to a country meeting looks likely to be rewarded with berths in the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic.
Saxton Rock and Arrestar were in a group of horses on the cusp of a start in the $2 million race at the Gold Coast on January 14.
Dunn entered them for the two-year-old race at the Gold Coast on Wednesday but instead raced them at Murwillumbah a day earlier.
Saxton Rock picked up a further $3775 for second to take his total prize money to just under $50,000 which should ensure he gets a start in the Classic.
Arrestar ran third and earned a further $1890 which should also lift him into the field.
Dunn said he knew it was a risk running the pair against older horses on a wet track at Murwillumbah.
“They had to carry big weights against older horses but it is twelve days to the Magic Millions instead of a week and it gives them that little bit extra time to recover,” Dunn said.
“Also the Gold Coast will be wet after rain this week. So the extra rest is a bonus.”
Dunn said he hoped both horses would make the Classic field with several runners above them on the order of entry likely to be non-runners.
“At this stage I understand we would be unlucky not to get a start with both but we will have to wait and see,’ Dunn said.
While Dunn might not have a runner in Saturday’s two-year-old event, he will produce This Is Australia at the Gold Coast meeting.
Formerly trained in Sydney, firstly by Clarry Conners and then Gerald Ryan, This Is Australia will be running in a Class Three Plate (900m).
He hasn’t raced since finishing last at Rosehill in July but did run an impressive second in a recent Murwillumbah trial.
“Groovy Gal won the trial and she is a very fast horse. But he finished a length behind her and was going strongly at the finish,” Dunn sad.
This Is Australia is raced by John Singleton’s Strawberry Hill Stud and was once rated a potential topliner.
Bred by Singleton, he is by More Than Ready out of Strawberry Road mare Milva.
This Is Australia has won only two of his 11 starts but Dunn believes he is well placed at set weights.