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Country Championship Week is Here!



The 2024 Newhaven Park Country Championships will kick off this coming Saturday at the Lismore Turf Club who will host the $150,000 Northern Rivers qualifier for the first time. The Tweed River Jockey Club will be aiming to win its third qualifier in a row with Far Too Easy (David McColm) winning the Qualifier in 2022 and Bean Foggy (Darren Graham) winning in 2023. From the nine qualifiers hosted in the Northern Rivers, five of them have been trained at Murwillumbah. Gracie Belle (Matthew Dunn) is only Murwillumbah-trained horse to win the Country Championships so far in its nine-year history.



After a very successful start to the year with 16 winners and 13 placings from the last 50 starts, the Matthew Dunn racing stable will look to resume its domination in the Northern Rivers Country Championship heat with his first runners in the series since Gracie Belle won the 2020 Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick. Matthew Dunn has nominated 10 runners including 2023 Kosciuszko-contender and Magic Millions The Syndicate winner Derry Grove, Group 3-placegetter Rainbow Connection and Highway winners Emperor, Al Ash Lad and Tribeca Star.

David McColm will return to the Country Championships series after success with Far Too Easy winning the 2022 Qualifier at Coffs Harbour. The McColm racing team has nominated up and coming 4YO mare Fairway Choice. Fairway Choice has only had 4 starts for 3 wins including a Benchmark 62 Handicap (1200m) last start at Eagle Farm.

First and second-place will gain a start in the $1 million Newhaven Park Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick on Saturday 6th April 2024. Since the introduction of the Series in 2015, the Tweed River Jockey Club has provided 32 runners for the 9 qualifiers with 6 horses qualifying for the final.

Year

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

Placing

2017

Perfect Dare

Matthew Dunn

Hugh Bowman

12th

2018

Snitz

Matthew Dunn

Robbie Fradd

5th

2019

La Scopa

Matthew Dunn

Jason Collett

7th

2020

Gracie Belle

Matthew Dunn

Kerrin McEvoy

1st

2022

Far Too Easy

David McColm

James McDonald

4th

2023

Bean Foggy

Darren Graham

Ben Looker

13th


Despite Saturday hosting the Country Championship Qualifer for the Northern Rivers, there are 25 horses Murwillumbah-trained horses nominated across the East Coast. There are over 15 Murwillumbah-trained horses nominated in the supporting races at the Lismore Turf Club which will hold Showcase prizemoney.


Matthew Dunn has nominated nine horses including exciting three-year-old Texas Fireball. Peter Sinclair has nominated two horses in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (2100m) including the ever-consistent Always Hunting (NZ). Neville Boyle has nominated Lonhie Lass first-up for the $50,000 Showcase Super Maiden Handicap (1300m). Stewart Campbell has dual-nominated Lucania at the Gold Coast and Lismore who showed a promising performance in his second start for the stable with a 3rd at its home track on Kingscliff Cup Day.



Darren Graham has dual-nominated last year's Country Championship qualifier winner Bean Foggy in Brisbane and the Gold Coast for its second-up start after a 18 week spell. Darren has also nominated Son of Heroic at the Gold Coast in a Maiden Handicap over 1540m.


Finally, Matthew Dunn has nominated dual-Group 2 winner Cepheus in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes over 1200m at Royal Randwick this Saturday. Cepheus has also been nominated to trial at Doomben and Rosehill during the week.


This promises to be a massive week for the Tweed River Jockey Club. Keep up to date with all the latest information on our socials and website. Good luck to all trainers, staff and connections.

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