Matt Dunn and Ben Rodgers at the Stables.
Matt Dunn and Ben Rodgers at the Stables. John Gass

Dunn not dusted yet

MATTHEW Dunn's climb up the Australian thoroughbred horse training ranks is set to surge again with the Murwillumbah-based horseman having a busy time of it increasing neddy numbers at the Magic Millions Yearling Sales.

The astute trainer brought home seven yearlings from the sale, including what he describes as "an absolute steal" - a perfectly conformed brown colt by the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense (USA).

But Dunn isn't finished yet - he's off to Sydney tonight, cheque-book in hand, to attend the 2012 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale at the famed Newmarket Sales Complex.

"I've got my eye on a couple and hopefully we won't be outbid on the ones we really want," Dunn said.

"The third day (Tuesday) doesn't really interest me but there are a good number of yearlings I'm keen to see in the flesh on Sunday and Monday."

Dunn has made a meteoric rise in the Sport of Kings since going out on his own last July, amicably splitting ranks with Gerald Ryan for whom he served as assistant trainer in Sydney and more recently in Murwillumbah where the leading trainer had set-up a training satellite.

It is "house full" at the Dunn stables despite him having accommodation for around 60 horses - hence plans are now in place to expand the number of stalls and install training aids such as an 8-10 horse walking machine.

But Dunn has jumped out running in the journey to establish himself in the top echelon of thoroughbred racehorse trainers.

He has trained 33 winners this season in both NSW and Queensland including 12 in the Brisbane metropolitan area where he is in sixth place.

Dunn's strike rate is remarkable.

He sits in equal 20th place on the Australian order of merit but his strike rate - winners per runners -is easily the best of the leading trainers in the nation at 21.80%.

However Dunn is not one to rest on his laurels, hence his foray into the major yearling sales.

There's little doubt he will be eagerly anticipating getting his hands on the Magic Millions yearlings when they come back next winter to prepare for the new two-year-old season.

Certainly on his mind will be the Street Sense colt for which he outlaid $50,000 when the youngster was put back through the ring at the end of the sales along with others which had earlier been passed-in after failing to reach their reserve prices.

"The colt was passed-in at a much higher price than what I eventually paid for him," Dunn explains.

"But the vendors were intent on not taking him home and unfortunately for them, all the major spenders had already left the sale ring when he came through again."

"He's a really nice horse - very athletic - and by a young sire who has been starting to hit his straps in the United States where only last weekend he sired his first Group winner," Dunn said.

"Street Sense looks to be getting sprinters and stayers alike- all the good ones he has sired seem to have inherited his ability to quicken when under pressure and I really like that in a horse."

Dunn intends syndicating the colt into 10 $6000 shares which covers the purchase price and nomination fees for all the lucrative Magic Millions races in 2013.

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