By Glenn Davis
After notching up his first win of the new racing season at Doomben on Wednesday, trainer Matt Dunn hopes for another city breakthrough at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The Murwillumbah trainer has a large stable of 80 horses in work and had a good season in the 2018-19 Brisbane trainers’ premiership, finishing 11th to runaway winner Tony Gollan.
Dunn had endured a horror run of 33 defeats before Luvdisc won his maiden at Doomben on Wednesday.
“We’ve been having a crummy run and there’s been a lot of things to blame it on,” Dunn said.
“It happens to a lot of trainers and sometimes you just stall for a while until the better horses come along.”
Dunn is hoping Sovereign Nation, a former Group 1 performer in Melbourne, and Lifesaver can do their part to continue the stable’s form resurgence.
Sovereign Nation will carry topweight in the Open Handicap (1400m) while Lifesaver starts in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1000m).
Sovereign Nation surprised Dunn last start when the six-year-old led before being run down late to finish fourth to Gold Coast sprinter Manaya in a 1400-metre Open sprint at Eagle Farm last month.
“He’s never led in a race in his life and it’s not normal for him,” Dunn said.
“I’ll leave it up to his rider (Baylee Nothdurft) whether to ride him like that again or more likely we’ll just put him where he’s happy.”
Sovereign Nation has had six starts for Dunn since moving from the David Hayes, Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes stable.
He ran second in the Group One Toorak Handicap and fourth in the Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes in 2017 and his only win since was in a Listed race at Flemington in March last year.
The seven-year-old made a promising debut for Dunn finishing second in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup on January 26 before failing to place during the winter carnival in the Weetwood Handicap, Prime Minister’s Cup and Lord Mayor’s Cup.
Six-year-old Lifesaver’s career has been restricted to just 15 starts for four wins and as many placings.
He won his second Highway Handicap at Randwick in late May before an eye-catching fourth to Hirtshals in a 1000-metre Benchmark race at Eagle Farm last start.
“He’s no longer eligible for the Highways in Sydney and his first-up runs are always good,” Dunn said.
“He hasn’t had many starts in his career but he’s as sound as a bell.
“Unfortunately, he trains off very quickly and can’t cope with a long preparation.
“He’s working well and had a week off in the paddock after his last run so I’m expecting him to go well.”
Racing Queensland webnews August 16