ON FIRE: Matthew Dunn gelding Snitz has been in fine form with Robbie Fradd in the saddle. He will be favourite in the Country Championships qualifier at Grafton tomorrow.
ON FIRE: Matthew Dunn gelding Snitz has been in fine form with Robbie Fradd in the saddle. He will be favourite in the Country Championships qualifier at Grafton tomorrow. DARREN ENGLAND/AAP

Your ULTIMATE guide to the Country Championships qualifier

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RACING: A number of top-quality horses are lining up for a crack at the Northern Rivers Racing Association Country Championships qualifier tomorrow.

It is no surprise that Murwillumbah's Matt Dunn has a very strong hand in the $100,000 qualifier and it is the in-form Snitz that will start the race as a dominant favourite.

But will the enigmatic three-year-old live up to the hype, or will it be another of Dunn's five-horse brigade?

Find out in our extensive qualifier field analysis by Ladbrokes' Tom Hackett.

MY COUSIN BOSSY 59kg (3) T: S Phelps J: G Colless

My Cousin Bossy has been fairly plain this preparation and he was particularly disappointing at Coffs Harbour last start. He does have an excellent record at Grafton - three wins from seven starts - but it is tough to back him on form.

SNITZ 57.5kg (6) T: M Dunn J: R Fradd

Snitz is a dominant favourite in the race. He finished his most recent campaign with two impressive wins and he was absolutely enormous last start at Doomben - he was caught three-wide throughout and was still able to find the line strongly. The scary thing for his rivals is that he just keeps getting better. Barrier six is ideal, he is deserving of his short price.

LANDMARKS 57.5kg (14) T: S Cumming J: T Treichel

This race looks on the tough side for Landmarks. He doesn't have a bad record, but he was poor last start at the Gold Coast and he has never shown anything to suggest he is capable of winning at this level.

 

Jockey Tye Angland (right) rides Runway Ready to win the Tab Highway Handicap, during Royal Randwick Race Day at Royal Randwick in Sydney.
Jockey Tye Angland (right) rides Runway Ready to win the Tab Highway Handicap, during Royal Randwick Race Day at Royal Randwick in Sydney. DANIEL MUNOZ/AAP

RUNWAY READY 57kg (11) T: M Dunn J: J Lloyd

Runway Ready is another Dunn-trained horse that comes into this race on the back of a winning streak. She won a Highway Handicap at Royal Randwick in impressive fashion and she is a mare that does still look to have upside. There is no doubt she will need some luck in running, but she does have the benefit of Jeff Lloyd in the saddle.

MALMOOSA 57kg (18) T: D Bowen J: L Cassidy

Malmoosa was excellent last start at Ipswich, but he is a horse that has struggled for consistency during his racing career to date. The wide barrier draw is an issue and he does look under the odds.

MY COUSIN JACKIE 57kg (8) T: S Phelps J: B Stower

My Cousin Jackie was very poor in her past two starts and even her best form isn't anywhere near the quality required to win this race.

MEDITERRANEAN SCR

Scratched.

LAWAN 56kg (2) T: J Jarvis J: M McGuren

It would be a surprise if he was able to beat the likes of Snitz, but Lawan is over the odds at his current price of $51. His last start effort at Newcastle was poor, but he is a better horse than that run suggests and is capable of a high-rating effort on his day.

CASCATA ROSSA 56kg (7) T: M Dunn J: A Gibbons

Cascata Rossa is the third Dunn-trained runner in this field. The Testa Rossa gelding showed plenty of promise early, but he has turned into a very frustrating horse for punters and he was beaten as an odds-on favourite at Ipswich last start. You couldn't have him on the back of that.

 

Wayne Lawson-trained gelding Dominant Crown surges down the outside at the Clarence River Jockey Club's Australia Day race day earlier this year.
Wayne Lawson-trained gelding Dominant Crown surges down the outside at the Clarence River Jockey Club's Australia Day race day earlier this year. Matthew Elkerton

DOMINANT CROWN 56kg (17) T: W Lawson J: J Worley

Another horse that does look outclassed in this sort of company and the wide barrier draw doesn't help his chances. He has found his right price.

DEFENCE WITNESS 56kg (1) T: D Cunningham J: Matthew Bennett

Defence Witness won at Moonee Valley as a young horse, but he has not really kicked on in recent years. He faded badly last start and he will go around at triple figures.

NORTHERN KNIGHT 56kg (15) T: B Bellamy J: R Spokes

Northern Knight has recorded three wins from his five race starts and he is a horse with some talent. It would not surprise to see him go forward from the wide barrier draw and ensure that there is plenty of speed in the race. He has the chance to qualify for the final.

 

Ben Looker is the only Grafton jockey other than Matt McGuren enterring the qualifier. Looker will pilot Paul Smith's each-way chance Ferniehirst.
Ben Looker is the only Grafton jockey other than Matt McGuren enterring the qualifier. Looker will pilot Paul Smith's each-way chance Ferniehirst. Leigh Jensen

FERNIEHIRST 55.5kg (12) T: P Smith J: Ben Looker

Ferniehirst goes into the race on the back of a dominant win at Port Macquarie. This race is much tougher and I would be surprised if she was up to this level, but she is another horse that could go forward and ensure there is some tempo.

BRIGHT LIGHTS BABY 54kg (16) T: J Hardy J: J Taylor

Bright Lights Baby produced the best form of her career last preparation, but this is easily the toughest race she has contested during her career. It would be a huge surprise if she made it a winning return.

IGGY THE MOOCHER (E) 56kg (10) T: M Dunn J: Chris 'Chippy' Taylor (ZAF)

Iggy The Moocher has earned a start after Mediterranean scratched. He is a lightly-raced horse that was dominant last start and still has plenty of scope for improvement.

LIFESAVER (E)

 

READY FOR DANGER (E)

 

SUPER TONIC (E)

This guide was brought to you in conjunction with betting agency Ladbrokes, please remember to gamble responsibly. 

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