Dunn deal as Tweed trainer earns place in $1.3 million race
TWEED-based trainer Matt Dunn has a fresh mountain to climb.
Dunn, whose stables are based in Murwillumbah, has negotiated his way into two starters in next Saturday's inaugural $1.3 million race called 'The Kosciuszko' at Royal Randwick, which has been billed as the world's richest country thoroughbred race, with a first prize of $685,000.
The concept of the race is as unique as the purse is lucrative - the starting 12 horses were organised through a sweepstakes, where punters could purchase a ticket through Racing NSW for $5 each, with 12 winning tickets drawn out.
With the race made just for NSW country gallopers, Dunn was in high demand as he negotiated a deal with two winning ticket holders for geldings Care to Think and Snitz to take the field.
That process, where trainers and ticket-holders broker a deal over the split of potential prize money, was a whole new experience for Dunn, who has linked up with a group from Wagga Wagga and a punter in Bathurst to ensure two starting spots.
"It was really something different for everybody with the negotiations with the slots, and it was a bit difficult for people to get their head around,” Dunn said.
"But I think most people were pretty happy.
"There were some parts of it that were difficult, but I think ultimately we got the right people in.”
Dunn has already earned a big pay-off this year after Care To Think, the son of So You Think, won $600,000 for first place at the Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast in January.
And if Dunn is able to repeat the dose with another rich win, he has already committed half of his trainers' cut to the drought relief program.
"That's something we decided a long time ago,” said Dunn, whose stable in Murwillumbah has grown to around 100 horses.
Another big win would only help Dunn grow his burgeoning enterprise, which is employing dozens of local stablehands and growing the profile of racing in the Tweed by the day.
"Interest in the sport is certainly growing as far as owners and clients, who all used to be based in Sydney and Melbourne,” Dunn said.
"Everybody is getting to know that we're here. It's really encouraging to see a growing community interest in racing... it's getting there.”
Race time: 2.30pm
Date: Saturday, October 13