Double delight for Matthew Dunn at Magic Millions Carnival

On Saturday, Nash Rawiller returned as a winner on the Matthew Dunn-trained Derry Grove on the Gold Coast.
Image – Darren Winningham.

Leading NSW country trainer Matthew Dunn enjoyed one of his best days as a trainer on Saturday, winning not one but two rich Magic Millions races on the Gold Coast. 

On a massive day of racing, where life-changing prize money was on offer, Dunn kicked off a big day when Boom Torque ($7.50) scorched home to claim victory in the $1 million Magic Millions QTIS Open (1300m).

Ridden by Michael Dee, who scored his first win of the Gold Coast Magic Millions carnival, the Spirit of Boom gelding made it five wins from nine starts, taking his earnings to shy of $700,000. 

“He didn’t do it the easy way,” Dunn said after the race.

“He was three and four deep, and we wanted to be a little closer than where we ended up.

“We got a bit of pressure out of the gates; they were saying that you can’t come from the back and win on this track, but he is evidence that you can. 

“He got back to second last, circled the field, and beat them convincingly. “

It was a massive rise in class for the four-year-old, which last preparation, progressed from a maiden to a 1200m Benchmark 68 Handicap victory when notching four wins on the trot. 

Following a 15-week spell, Boom Torque finished third when first-up in an 1110m Benchmark 70 Handicap at Doomben on December 30, and at the Gold Coast, he beat home the likes of Rothfire, Chinny Boom, Hatchet, and Steady Ready. 

“This horse is an unassuming character, and he keeps improving every time you do something with him,” Dunn said. 

“We were coming into this race quietly confident and thinking he is in a good spot, but I didn’t think he could sit four-deep the trip and still beat these today, but he did a great job. 

“He got in with 53 kilograms on his back, and it makes a massive difference. 

“He made his run with Rothfire, and that was the key. You get these horses into these races at the right time, and they get in well at the weights; they usually win.”

Later in the program, Dunn celebrated his rich double as Derry Grove ($7.50) emerged victorious in the $1 million Magic Millions The Syndicate (1100m).

Ridden by popular Sydney hoop Nash Rawiller, the Murwillumbah galloper got home in the nick of time to triumph and win connections $590,000.

It was another excellent ride, with Rawiller timing his run to perfection as Derry Grove got home to win with one last thrust.

“I was with them (the owners), and I thought he just missed as well,” Dunn said. 

“He is a really nice competitive horse, and things didn’t quite go his way in The Kosciuszko, but it was in our plan to come to this race from that day.

Michael Dee guided the Matthew Dunn-trained Boom Torque to victory on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Image – Darren Winningham.

“There’s been a lot of hard work at home, and a lot has gone into this horse because he went pear-shaped a couple of preparations ago, and last prep was evidence, and again today, that he is back bigger and better than ever.”

The Star Turn gelding, which last time out finished ninth to Front Page in the 2023 Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick, was first-up from a ten-week let-up but registered career win number five when taking his earnings to shy of $800,000. 

Dunn thanked jockey Brodie Loy for his work with the horse in the lead-up to Saturday’s rich win.

“It was between the ears mostly,” Dunn replied when asked why it went pear-shaped for Derry Grove in previous preparations.

“He didn’t want to settle, and he wouldn’t relax in his races, and Brodie Loy, he’s not here to ride him today, but he’s done a great job with him and ridden him right through a couple of preparations now and taught him to relax and settle, and that’s been the key.”