For the first time in three years Dwayne Dunn is not in the thick of a Melbourne jockeys’ premiership battle, but he has played a starring role at a late-season meeting at Sandown.
Craig Williams returned to city racing after a recent suspension and bagged a winning double on Wednesday to move to within two of leader Beau Mertens.
But it was Dunn who took riding honours with a winning treble.
Dunn has been involved in premiership battles in the past two seasons, finishing a close third two years ago before being run down by Williams last year to finish second.
He brought up his treble on Wednesday aboard the Robert Smerdon-trained Dulverton, taking his season tally in Melbourne to 55.
That is 16 behind Mertens, who was winless on Wednesday, with only five meetings remaining.
“There’s not enough meetings to go,” Dunn said.
“It’s been a great day at the office.”
Dunn won aboard Ashlee Marie in the Heritage Finance Stakes before combining with Smerdon to win the final two races aboard Lovani and Dulverton.
Dulverton denied a fast-finishing Galaxy Raider who was ridden by Williams who also had to settle for second to Dunn in the previous race on Precious Journey.
Smerdon also had a winning treble at the meeting with promising three-year-old Street Impact winning the Sheamus Mills Handicap (1200m) with Williams aboard.
Williams’ second win for the day came aboard lightly raced mare Sea The Sparkle who was having her first start since November.
The Darren Weir-trained Sea The Sparkle scored by a length in the Chanler Chandler Macleod Handicap (1400m).
“They were quietly confident with this girl coming here,” Williams said.
“She had been really well handled. She’s extremely well bred and they are getting the desired results with her. She’s got a lot of upside from today.”
The meeting also featured a first Australian win from European import Global Gentl who brought obscure form lines to Melbourne.
Trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, Global Gentl won the Ladbrokes Up For The Challenge Handicap (2100m) by a long neck at his third Australian start.
The gelding won a Listed race in Hungary last year and was second in the Austrian Derby.