TRJC based, Matthew Dunn confident with quality Sunshine Coast-bound trio

Jun 29, 2017

MATTHEW Dunn has a quality team of thoroughbreds at his base in Murwillumbah and three of them will be heading to the Sunshine Coast this Saturday.

The headline act for Dunn is talented three-year-old Zamex in the XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas, which looms as a serious winning chance after scoring consecutive Highway Handicap wins.

The well-bred son of Cheval de Troy – which finished fourth in the 2004 New Zealand Derby, scored an impressive win at Rosehill last start where it came from the back of the field to land the prize in an exciting finish.

Dunn plans to send Zamex ($8 at Sportsbet) to the spelling paddock after Saturday’s run, but not before it gets its chance to score its biggest career win.

“He seems in good shape, he hasn’t done a huge amount of speed work since coming back (from Sydney), it’s just a case of cuddling him through,” Dunn told “This will be his last run this preparation.

“He’s actually almost exactly the same weight as when he left for Sydney for his first run down there, so we’re pleased heading into Saturday.”

Rising up in distance seems a natural progression for Zamex and Dunn will look to target some longer distance races either in the spring or during the Provincial Summer Series in Queensland.

“He’ll step up next preparation, but he’s not ready yet,” Dunn said. “I’ll look at him a couple of weeks into his spell – whether we short spell him and bring him back for something towards the end of spring or whether we give him a proper break and set him up for the Summer Series in Queensland, I’m not sure.

“I am sure that his future lies over 2000m and beyond.”

Dunn also lines up the promising Care To Think in the BOQ Mooloolaba 3YO Handicap having finished second behind recent Doomben winner Sneaky Glance in the Grafton Guineas Prelude.

The three-year-old by So You Think has always shown good potential, but can be a little fragile during the run as Dunn describes.

“He’s a nice horse, but he’s a bit fragile still,” he said. “He’s racing well despite that and the form that beat him last start won well so that franked the form.

“He’s got talent and we’ve been patient with him, but he’s in the right race and should get a good run from the right gate.”

Care To Think is another Dunn-trained runner which should excel over more ground, but Dunn is intentionally keeping the gelding at the shorter distances.

“I’ve held him back to the 1200m because he kept wanting to over-race in the middle stages. I want to get that out of his head,” Dunn said.

“He’s bred to run a mile and further and we want to get him to relax a bit better.”

Stablemate Saxton Rock has had similar problems to Care To Think, but the blinkers have been applied for this Saturday’s run in the Wimmers Premium Soft Drinks 2YO and punters should expect a better effort at $20 with

“He’s still a little bit slight, but he’ll get there,” Dunn said. “His first run was better than it looked, but the blinkers go on this time to switch him on.”

Dunn will be looking for jockey Robbie Fradd to settle close to the pace from an inside draw and use the natural speed it showed when winning by over a length at Doomben last year.

“Hopefully we can get him a bit closer early, he’s probably going to use the gate,” Dunn said. “We’ll ask to ride him a bit more positive.

“He’s got the talent, the pedigree and he’s improved a lot on what he did first up, so I’m expecting him to run a lot better.”

The son of Snitzel finished sixth at Ipswich last start, but the soggy track conditions weren’t ideal for the lightly-framed juvenile.

“I prefer good tracks and some of these horses get sick of bashing around on wet tracks all the time,” Dunn said. “I know I get sick and tired of punching around in the mud at work.

“If the track was rated 5 that’d be perfect for all my runners.”

BY Daryl Curnow , images by Trackside & Bradley Photographers