Sport

VIDEO: Perfect Dare "belts them up” at Grafton

RACING: One of the early favourites to win the $388,000 Country Championships Final is the first to qualify after Perfect Dare plundered heat one at Grafton today.

Before a heat had been run the Matthew Dunn trained four-year-old gelding was this week quoted at $11 alongside Pumpkin Pie to win the 1400m final at Royal Randwick on April 1.

That price will no doubt firm into single digits after Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne shot Perfect Dare to a five lengths victory in the $150,000 qualifier.

 

Boasting more than three times the prizemoney ($358,167) of any of its rivals, including a last start second in the Listed $975,001 Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast on January, Perfect Dare started the $2 favourite at Grafton and did not disappoint.

"It's probably a relief more than anything because his form is obviously superior to that field," Dunn admitted.

"He did a good job though. He didn't just beat them, he belted them up. That's what we were hoping to do on that weight scale against those horses."

Second in heat 1 of the Country Championships and on the way to Sydney is 5 - Free Standing.
Second in heat 1 of the Country Championships and on the way to Sydney is 5 - Free Standing. Adam Hourigan Photography

Coffs Harbour trainer Cathleen Rode was thrilled when Free Standing ($31, Raymond Spokes) ran second to book the second slot in the final in six weeks.

"He's not high maintenance so if he pulls up okay we'll be there," she said. "I was quite confident today. He's an honest, big horse and been working really well."

The best of the local hopes Hotel Drive ($11, Ric McMahon) took up the early running as expected but his trademark blistering finish was nowhere to be seen and he faded badly to finish third.

"He paddled the last hundred," despondent trainer Scott Henley said afterwards. "He ran out of petrol."

6 - Perfect Dare sprints clear of the field to win Heat 1 of the Country Championships at Grafton
6 - Perfect Dare sprints clear of the field to win Heat 1 of the Country Championships at Grafton Adam Hourigan Photography

Henley will have the option of sending Hotel Drive for another chance in the Country Championship Wild Card at Muswellbrook on March 26.

While Henley was hesitant to commit that far ahead, Dunn was more animated about the possibility, having brought four runners from his Muswellbrook stables including Madame De Ban ($4, Jeff Lloyd) who came home late to finish fourth.

"We've concentrated a little harder to get some horses there this year," Dunn said.

"We had four in it, they all run well and it's a shame another one didn't run second. But we've got one through and hopefully we might go to the repechage heat in Muswellbrook in four weeks time and get one of the other ones in as well."

6 - Perfect Dare sprints clear of the field to win Heat 1 of the Country Championships at Grafton
6 - Perfect Dare sprints clear of the field to win Heat 1 of the Country Championships at Grafton Adam Hourigan Photography

Dunn was not overly concerned by the six week gap to fill between the heat and the final for Perfect Dare.

"I don't know what I'll do with him between now and then, he probably needs another run somewhere," he said. "I don't know whether I'll run him in Sydney or keep him up here, I'll figure that out in the next few days.

"It's a little bit (of a logistical nightmare), particularly given that today's the same distance as the final. If today was 1200 it wouldn't be a problem, we'd go straight in.

"But he had a month between runs between Magic Millions and today, so there's no reason we can't stretch him out again."

Topics:  country championships crjc grafton races hotel drive matthew dunn racing nsw scott henley


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Shark removed from rock wall at Ballina

A dead shark washed up on the rocks at North Wall.

Dusky whaler shark removed for research

Dalwood waterfall up for sale

Two people have died at Dalwood Falls, Ballina.

How would you like to own your very own waterfall?

Marathon fight against "horrible" disease

Headshave team captain Suanne Richards (left) helped to raise $2,000 at Relay for Life on Saturday.

"It's really hard being on the sidelines of all this.”

Local Partners

Bungawalbin hunkers down again as rain revisits

A RISING watertable and incessant rain mean more flooding for Bungawalbin residents who are still recovering from the earlier downpours.

Future Islands gear up for Splendour gig

Future Islands is an American synthpop band composed of Gerrit Welmers (keyboards and programming), William Cashion (bass, acoustic and electric guitars), and Samuel T. Herring (lyrics and vocals).

Their new album is "music from the heart than from the mind".

The Lyrical, beyond the 'F' word

Roots, Hip-Hop and Reggae artist Karl Smith, also known as The Lyrical.

Hiphop artist brings his latest music to the area

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

Gogglebox shock: ‘This is so bloody juicy’

THE Gogglebox households can’t quite believe their eyes as they watch one of the most scandalous TV...

New Oscars fiasco safety net

IN A monumental stuff-up, La La Land was incorrectly named Best Picture. During the acceptance speech, the real winner was revealed.

Academy ‘won’t sack PwC’ but new safeguards in place.

Frozen’s original ending was much darker

Disney’s hit movie Frozen nearly turned out very, very differently.

IF THE original script had gone ahead, Frozen would have been grim.

Bea's parting gift: The Freak's in the frame

Pamela Rabe stars as Joan Ferguson in a scene from season five of the TV series Wentworth.

Gripping prison drama Wentworth returns for a volatile fifth season.

What's on the big screen this week

A scene from the movie The Lego Batman Movie.

LEGO Batman and Scarlett Johansson take on Beauty and the Beast.

MOVIE REVIEW: Crazy Boss Baby story is a little far-fetched

A scene from the movie The Boss Baby.

After nailing Trump, Alec Baldwin’s career takes a strange detour.

MKR’s Amy blasts Josh’s ‘sl*t’ slur

Amy Murr, pictured with brother Tyson, said rival contestant Josh Meeuwissen crossed the line when he called her a ‘sl*t’.

AMY responds after being called a ‘sl*t’ by MKR’s villain Josh.

Luxury hotel expands $400m water park development

Developer to push on with second stage of massive new water park

Dalwood waterfall up for sale

Two people have died at Dalwood Falls, Ballina.

How would you like to own your very own waterfall?

It's official: Byron Bay unaffordable

MILLIONAIRES ROW: The Housing Commission house in Keats St, Byron Bay which sold at auction on Saturday for $1.65 million.

Buying a home in Bay Bay is a dream too far for some

Northern Rivers vacancy rates slip backwards

LITTLE ROOM: Vacancy rates on rental properties have dropped by .5% in the Northern Rivers to just 1.1%.

Northern Rivers rental housing shortage beats Sydney

Coast home luring interstate buyers sold

PRIZED POSITION: Blue clip location, peaceful surroundings, spacious living with swimming pool, tennis court on 4562sq
m

The property was described as a 'Queenslander with Hamptons style'

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!