Trainer Hunter Kilner with Steve's Surprise.
Trainer Hunter Kilner with Steve's Surprise. Adam Hourigan

No surprise if Kilner lands a winner with his lone raider

VETERAN Grafton trainer Hunter Kilner has made a habit of coming to Coffs Harbour at this time of year and driving home with a winner or two to his name.

When he comes down the Pacific Hwy with only one member of his stable in the back of the float, you might want to pay some attention to that lone starter.

Steve's Surprise is lining up in the Coffs Harbour Office Choice Daniel Baker Prelude tomorrow and he hits the track with some strong form behind him,.

Last start the Stratum gelding finished fifth in the John Carlton Cup Quality at Grafton but it was only two and three-quarter lengths behind Termele.

A result that saw the five year-old's prizemoney go past the $100,000 mark.

That result followed a quick freshen up after a fifth placed finish chasing a second straight Beef Week Cup at Casino but that too was a narrow miss, less than one and a half lengths behind the winner.

Prior to that Steve's Surprise had wins at the Gold Coast on Easter Saturday as well as at his home track before lumping 59.5kg on a heavy track at Grafton for a good third to My Cousin Bossy and Fabry in the Brushgrove Cup.

The last four starts have all had Matthew Paget on board and the pair will join forces again tomorrow. Despite giving most of the field a weight advantage of more than four kilos, the pair have drawn a good barrier which is so vital in the shorter races at the Coffs Harbour track.

"Matty's ridden him for five of his wins for me so he seems to know the horse as well as anyone," the trainer said.

Steve's Surprise came to Kilner via Western Australia. He was owned by Kilner's brother, Steve.

"He leased him to people from Bangalow but still retains an interest," Kilner said.

"That's where the horse got his name from, my brother Francis Stephen."

Since coming to the Kilner stable, the brown flyer's had six wins and a further seven placings from 21 starts.

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