IT’S almost Matt Dunn versus Queensland.
That’s how it looks when you peruse the field for the $38,000 The Riverview Hotel Murwillumbah Cup (1530m) on Friday.
Dunn, based at Murwillumbah where he has around 80 horses in work, has recent Maclean Cup winner Zamex in the field of 12. They, and Lismore trained Anne Bonny (Owen Glue), are the only NSW representatives.
The rest are from Queensland, Gold Coast, Deagon, Eagle Farm and Beaudesert to be exact.
Gold Coast trainers Bruce Hill, John Smerdon, Toby Edmonds, John Zielke, Brad Witt and Ben Hull all have runners, Hill starting two – Bodega Negra and Liberty Island.
Smerdon runs Kincaple Chief, Edmonds has in-form mare Madam Shazam and Zielke starts Future Event, a four-year-old gelding, who, like Madam Shazam, has had one run at Murwillumbah for one win.
The son of Dream Ahead won the Mooball Cup at Murwillumbah back in May while Madam Shazam, a five-year-old daughter of Sebring, won a 1530m Class 3 at Murwillumbah back in early June.
Then there is Brad Witt. He has six-year-old gelding Balius, a son of Lonhro, jumping from barrier eight with talented apprentice Jed Hodge aboard. Balius won at Ballina three starts back but was eighth in a field of eight in the Sawtell Cup at his last outing.
Deagon-based trainer Pat Duff also runs Fasta Than Light, an eight-year-old gelding son of Hidden Dragon. He drew barrier three with apprentice Miki Nako to ride and claim 2kg off his 55kg.
Beaudesert trainer Ken Deacon runs topweight Yaba Dabl Doya, a seven-year-old gelding son of Clang who has won nine of his 50 starts for $226,540 in prizemoney. He has to lump 62kgi with Glen Colless jumping him from barrier nine.
Bel Burgess, a six-year-old gelding son of Bel Esprit with six wins in 27 starts, has drawn much better in barrier two for Eagle Farm-based David Murphy.
It leaves just Matt Dunn and Lismore trainer Owen Glue to repel the maroon wave.
Glue runs Anne Bonny. She won last year’s Murwillumbah Cup. Her only win in four starts at Murwillumbah and she followed up by being unplaced in the Ballina Cup but running second in the Rousillon (1516m) at Lismore.
Last year she carried 54kg with Belinda Hodder in the saddle.
On Friday she carries the same, Hodder and 54kg but starts from barrier 12 after she jumped from barrier two last year.
That leaves Matt Dunn’s runner Zamex.
The five-year-old gelding, a son of Cheval De Troy, has drawn ideally in barrier one but jumps 3.5kg on his last start sixth in the Coffs Cup to Glitra.
He has also won two Highway Handicaps in Sydney for Dunn in his 21-race race career that has yielded six wins.
Funnily enough he is yet to race at Murwillumbah.
Stablemate Mystical Renegade, fourth in the recent Casino Cup, is first emergency and will go from five if he gets a run.