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Dio D'Oro dazzles to head for Cleveland Bay

3 minute read

Youthful Townsville trainer Matthew McGuire has his focus firmly on next month's Cleveland Bay sprint feature after another slashing win by Dio D'Oro at Townsville's Cluden Park.

Dio D'Oro, aided by a brilliant ride from Justin Stanley, rocketed home along the rails to claim the Open Handicap over 1200 metres on a rain-affected track, to score his second successive win of his current campaign.

Mcguire has been mixing training gallopers with greyhounds over the past few years but has been concentrating more on the gallopers recently.

Dio D'Oro, a winner in Sydney before joining the McGuire stable just over a year ago, has now won four races at Cluden and the camp decided some months ago to chase this year's rich Townsville sprint over 1300 metres on Townsville Cup Day on August 6.

"It's all systems go, now," McGuire's father Patrick said after the win. 

"We decided to chase the Cleveland Bay and it's all coming together.

"Ryan Wiggins did a great job on him last start and Justin Stanley showed his brilliant best."

Dio D'oro, starting from near the outside of the 12 horse field, was well back earlier but Stanley worked across to the rail and was in midfield approaching the home turn.

When the leaders fanned on straightening, Stanley drove the six-year-old gelding along the little used rails ground in the run home to score from El Of A Saga, with last year's Lightning Handicap winner Funky Music a solid third.

The well-backed El Shaday and Tennessee Boy looked winning chances on the home turn but did not figure in the finish. 

Dio D'Oro was the fourth locally-trained winner after Graham Hughes led in a double with Super Fast in the Maiden Plate over 1609 metres and Wanna Tweet in the following Class 3 Handicap over 1000 metres.

Tony Comerford won with Mt Isa galloper Deadly Diva, who appreciated the wet track. 

Super Fast, who is a home-bred three-year-old owned by Townsville car dealership owner John Collins, finished strongly for leading jockey Lacey Morrison and Hughes said he would "potter along" with the three-year-old over the upcoming winter carnival.

"He was doing a few things wrong early on but he's gradually come good and having only his fifth start," Hughes said

"Because he's a QTIS horse we may as well keep going before the end of the season."

Hughes, who has had a prolific season with the ten horses he has in work, was doubly pleased with the win of Wanna Tweet, which he races in ownership with son Jason.

Jockey Bonnie Thomson rated the first-up runner up near the front and fought on well to score by three quarters of a length.

The Roy Chillemi-trained Palencia added another feature to his resume with a solid win in the 3YO Townsville Dollars over 1400 metres, ridden a treat by the stable's two-kg claiming apprentice Rachel Shred.

"That's a 12 out of 10 ride," Chillemi said.

"I was a bit worried about how he would go on a heavy rated track but then I learnt that his sire Palentino had won races in that type of going so I went into the race with more confidence.

"We'll press on now towards the Townsville Guineas over the 1600 metres during the carnival."

Meanwhile, visiting Victorian trainer Frankie Stockdale was pleased with the strong-finishing fourth of Riverside Special in the Townsville Dollars after securing the services of Adrian Layt late on Monday.

"We had to declare one kg overweight but that was better than scratching him because of a shortage of jockeys," Stockdale said.

"He got back further than we would have liked on the soft track but I was pleased with his effort in the run home and through the line.

"Depending on how he comes through the run I may even back him up at Rockhampton next weekend as we head towards the mile races of the Guineas at Mackay and Townsville coming up."

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