Grisedale eyes a second Murwillumbah Newmarket

Donna Grisedale will have in-form sprinters Dollson going around in Fridays Murwillumbah Newmarket Handicap. Photo: Trackside Photography.

Shortly after moving to Coffs Harbour from Kembla Grange in 2019, Donna Grisedale was already winning feature races, taking out the Murwillumbah Newmarket Handicap with Waltzing Willie.

Grisedale will be aiming to win a second Newmarket in three years on Friday when she teams up with her husband and veteran jockey, Jon Grisedale, this time with in-form sprinter Dollson. 

The six-year-old is a four-time winner during his 18-start career and is coming off a tough victory in a 1250m Class Three at Taree late last month.

The Coffs Harbour trainer said confidence was high ahead of the $40,000 event.

“He does come in at the weights nicely (55kg) and I have confidence every time I take this horse anywhere,” Grisedale said. 

“He is just tough, and he seems to be adapting to the good tracks, heavy tracks and every distance we have tried him.”

Despite winning last-start, Grisedale said her galloper had no right after a poor preparation but explained that he is flying and ready for his Murwillumbah mission.

“If you actually knew the trouble that I had with the horse leading into that race you would give him more credit for the win,” Grisedale said. 

“I thought I had a foot abscess that was bruising, and I was lost for words on what it was and the work I needed done, just wasn’t done with the horse. 

“I thought if I could get him 95% right, his heart would get him over the line, he is just tough and that is what happened.” 

The 2021 Murwillumbah Newmarket Handicap over the 1200m journey will be the biggest test of Dollson’s career, and his trainer believed he was up to the challenge.

“Now he has won four, he is stuck going in benchmark races and if I go in the 66 races, he is getting 61-plus kilos, so we had to find something else,” Grisedale said. 

“I saw this race as an option for him a few weeks ago and we set him for it.”

As far as Dollson’s chances go, it looks a very open race on paper, with the Zariz gelding a $7 chance, while it is $3.20 the field with the Scott Henley trained Rari holding favouritism. 

“I never get too carried away, I normally downplay everything but there are some generally decent horses in this race, and I am happy with him and how he is going,” Grisedale said.

“He has got good gate speed and you know he will give everything in the run.”

Grisedale joked that Dollson was a little hard to handle at times, and that her husband was always in for a tough day at the office when working him and taking him to the races.

“He gets stuck riding him every day and he is not the nicest horse to ride,” Grisedale laughed. 

“You can’t give this horse a day off, he has to be worked every day, or some form of activity. I’ve got to treadmill him, we swim him, work him and if I cannot get the clerk of the course on race day, we wouldn’t get him to the barriers, he would throw Jon straight off, he is that type of horse.

“It is definitely a love-hate relationship between those two.”

Grisedale’s charge to win a second Newmarket Handicap is just one of many stories on what will be a big day of racing up north.

The $50,000 Murwillumbah Cup headlines the eight-race showcase meeting, with racing commencing at 12.45pm.