Trainer Dunn fined after assault inquiry
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Trainer Dunn fined after assault inquiry

One of NSW's best trainers fronted an inquiry into an assault allegation last year which was kept under wraps.

While the details are murky, Murwillumbah-based Matthew Dunn was alleged to have been involved in a fight with another licensee, James Vurlow.

Matthew Dunn is safely nestled inside the top 10 trainers in NSW this season.

Matthew Dunn is safely nestled inside the top 10 trainers in NSW this season.Credit:AAP

This column has only been made aware of the incident recently and sources say there was an inquiry into the matter involving both parties late in 2019.

Take it as read both men were fined. Dunn's penalty is believed to have been as much as $6000, half of which was suspended - not an insignificant sanction - and Vurlow's much smaller.

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On Sunday, Dunn said he defended himself during the inquiry and had moved on. It is understood he actually alerted stewards to the incident himself.

Dunn is one of NSW's most prolific horse conditioners, regularly winning races all around the state and in Queensland.

His horses are frequent visitors - and winners - of the successful Highway races in town each week. He won Saturday's race at Rosehill with Rothenburg and is safely nestled inside the top 10 on the NSW premiership.

The stable also won the Country Championships with Gracie Belle earlier this year.

Bowman has hernia op during spell

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Hugh Bowman has used an end-of-season break to go under the knife to fix a hernia problem, planning to return next campaign in preparation for the spring carnival.

Bowman, who is just four winners shy of cracking 100 group 1 victories, underwent a minor operation last week during his freshen-up.

"It will be a steady recovery and I'm just taking it easy," Bowman said. "I haven't put a set date on a return, but I won't be riding within a month.

"I thought I'd do it while I'm having a break. It wasn't giving me too much trouble, but it was there and it wasn't going to go away."

Bowman has been reinvigorated the last 12 months after taking a break following Winx's final campaign, citing exhaustion at the time. He will chase down the group 1 milestone later in the year.

J-Mac shows his class

James McDonald showed why many regard him as the best rider in the country after banking 100 winners at city meetings for the second straight season following successes aboard Rothenburg, Roheryn and Kordia at Rosehill.

It puts him in rarefied air matching Darren Beadman's feat, who piloted a century of winners in Sydney for five straight campaigns between 2002-03 and 2006-07.

McDonald's performance was even more honourable given less than 24 hours earlier he had defended himself, at length, over his controversial ride on Threeood, for which stewards have banned him for three weeks.

Expect the jockey to lodge an appeal against the suspension.

Time to pull together for Subzero

Let's hope a donation from the Australian Jockeys Association to help with the ongoing care of Subzero will spur others into action with the ageing hero.

It's hard to think of a horse - even including Winx and Black Caviar - which has done as much for the industry in the last two decades, and the death of Subzero's carer Graham Salisbury will be felt most by his great mate.

Racing administrators should be seriously considering how they preserve the legacy of Salisbury and Subzero long after they're both gone.

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