THIS time last year, Murwillumbah thoroughbred racehorse trainer, Matthew Dunn, was preparing 25 or so youngsters for the new two-year-old racing season which starts around the country early next month.
Their total value at yearling saleyards down the eastern seaboard was around $250,000.
Twelve months down the track and following a remarkably successful debut year training under his own moniker, Dunn starts the new season with the same number of youngsters but this time he was able to outlay $1.1 million in bringing them to his stables.
The old saying "success breeds success" is truly appropriate in this astonishing turn around in fortunes for the astute Dunn.
Formerly assistant trainer to Gerald Ryan at his Rosehill and Murwillumbah stables before putting up his own shingle in June last year, Dunn quickly made a big impact on the Queensland and Northern Rivers racing scenes.
He put the polish on close to 60 winners including 19 on Brisbane tracks to finish a creditable eighth on the metropolitan trainer's premiership.
Dunn's runners amassed a tick over $800,000 in prizemoney for his growing band of owners.
Owners who didn't hesitate to provide their trainer with suitable "ammo" to fire off winning bids at the yearling sales.
"Yes, I suppose there's nothing like a bit of success to get things happening," Dunn said.
"We had a lot of luck throughout the season, regularly leading in winners and there's nothing like a bagful of winners to attract more clients to the stable."
Luck? It seems that Lady Luck always seems to favour those who work hard.
Dunn, who celebrated his successful season in a big way last month by marrying his long-time partner and key trackwork rider, Keira Calland, not only works hard but is smart enough to employ quality stable staff and race day jockeys.
"I am fortunate to have a terrific staff and like many trainers before me, I like to leg up the best jockeys available," Dunn said.
One of those jockeys is leading Brisbane hoop Glen Colless, who will be filling the pigskin aboard Dunn's two-year-olds when they get to the official barrier trials on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane over the two-three weeks.
He currently has 15 youngsters aiming towards the trials including one strapping lass which he thinks "could be a good one".
Yet to be named, the chestnut filly is by leading Queensland sire, Jet Spur out of the unraced Show A Heart mare, Bleeding Heart.
The filly is a half sister to Sister Emma, which resumed from a spell and scored a hollow victory at only her second outing on the Sunshine Coast on September 2.
"She's built like a colt and has a real attitude but goes good (on the training track)," Dunn said.
"I like that in a horse though and I'll be surprised if she doesn't shape up well at the trials."
Syndicated for $80,000, the Jet Spur filly's owners include three locals who have been valued clients of Dunn, Tweed River Jockey Club chairman Bernie Quinn, Les Polglase and Laing Lehfeldt.
Other youngsters which Dunn believes will make it as early two-year-olds are a half brother to the smart Congo, a also yet to be named colt by Lohnro which cost $150,000 at the sales, and Smart Sense which is by former brilliant American galloper, Street Sense.