Kid Galahad wins Race 1 for jockey Matt McGuren at Grafton racecourse. Photo: Trackside Photography
Kid Galahad wins Race 1 for jockey Matt McGuren at Grafton racecourse. Photo: Trackside Photography

McGuren’s Grafton treble extends premiership lead

MATT McGuren lengthened his lead in the Northern Rivers Racing Association jockey’s premiership when he harvested a winning treble at Grafton on Thursday.

The outstanding jockey struck early on the seven-race card, winning the first two races aboard Kid Galahad and General Phelps before snaring the Happy 50th Andrew Woods Maiden Handicap (1410m) with Nishikori.

McGuren’s trio of wins took him to 38 for the NRRA season, 12 ahead of good mate and main rival, Ben Looker, who did snare a win aboard the Grafton-trained Drop It Deep for Dwayne Schmidt.

General Phelps strides out to win Race 2 at Grafton racecourse. Photo: Trackside Photography.
General Phelps strides out to win Race 2 at Grafton racecourse. Photo: Trackside Photography.

Nishikori was having his fourth start and improved markedly from a long last at Canterbury first up.

“It was a heavy track and he was never comfortable,” stable foreman Toby McIntosh explained of that resuming run.

“We expected a lot of improvement. He’s a horse we’ve always had a high opinion of.”

It was Matt Dunn’s 36th win of the NRRA season and took his lead in the trainer’s premiership to 22 from Coffs Harbour horseman Brett Bellamy.

While it was a good day for McGuren Tamworth apprentice Yvette Lewis also excelled, rating the Lea Selby-trained Kilmarnock to perfection in the Happy Birthday Bevan Cootes Benchmark 58 Handicap (2220m).

Lewis had the Armidale gelding back last throughout and then cut loose in the straight, mowing down her opponents for a stylish win.

Grafton trainer Jason Reilly also celebrated success with Franklin Corners, giving the four-year-old gelding plenty of time freshening in a paddock before today’s second career win.

John Sprague also finished the day well when Patriot came from back in the field to run down his rivals for his seventh career win.

The six-year-old gelding has now won more than $150,000 in prizemoney.