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The Grafton Carnival continues on Wednesday with the first of the two big days, headlined by the Ramornie Handicap (1200m). The weather is fine, the track is soft (6) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (12:30) The Abbey Motor Inn Rural Plate (Class 6) 2200m

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5 Mushroom Rock (Bet Now: $4.20) is going really well at the moment for the John Steinmetz stable. He ran over 2300m at Newcastle last time when midfield in the run before Shaun Guymer got going to get behind the speed on the turn and peel into clear air, where he hit the front and clung on, with his 800m-400m split the period where he won the race. Back to 2200m no issue, hard fit, in form…likeable.


The best version of 6 Savvy Ken (Bet Now: $2.00) is good enough to measure up here. Loved the way he knuckled down to win the Nowra Cup first up before racing on a bog at Randwick where he seemed to really struggle on the surface. Back on firmer footing, he looks suited up to 2200m and overall, I don’t think the depth is overly strong. Definite winning chance.

Long Shot

2 Proud Captain (Bet Now: $4.20) is a son of Captain Sonador for the Kris Lees stable who comes through the same race as Jazzland where he got back in the run and was never really a winning threat but did make ground and was good to the line in running third. Probably not quite up to the level of a Grafton Cup but he does find a winnable race here and will be hard to beat.

Race 2. (13:05) Grafton Taxis Handicap (66) 1400m

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2 Phobetor (Bet Now: $2.00) is a son of Dream Ahead for Michael Costa who does look above average. Has had four career outings, winning two of them. Last start saw him run at Eagle Farm where he was beaten but far from disgraced behind the talented Gollan runner Vega One. That was 1400m and I think that he just needed that run at the trip to be better off next time around.


6 Mister Smartee (Bet Now: $7.00) can bounce back here third up. Tas Morton trains this gelding, who was very good on speed when resuming at Taree before going to Coffs Harbour where he got back and couldn’t come on at all behind Magic Beneteau. Stack of gear changes to sharpen him up, draws well and his best is good enough to beat this lot. Giving him respect.

Long Shot

10 Kijito (Bet Now: $12.00) is a Neville Boyle trained gelding who has had two runs back from a spell, both over 1400m at the Gold Coast. Liked the way he found the line first up behind the talented three year old Blue Comet before racing on a bog track next time out and struggling in the conditions behind Remolad. Third up from a spell on firmer footing with Rachel King steering, he’s a knockout chance.

Race 3. (13:40) Herb Blanchard Haulage Handicap (Class 2) 1100m

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2 Impulsive Maneuver (Bet Now: $6.00) is the best horse in the race and am hoping he shows that. Have to forgive him for the first up run at Coffs Harbour given he was wide no cover and had to carry 62kg when a few lengths away from San Marco, who won the Highway on Saturday to well and truly tick that form off. If he produces his best, I think he’ll be too good for them.


1 Marmaris (Bet Now: $2.30) is the interesting runner. Formerly with Godolphin, he finds his way into the stable of Matt Dunn after resuming at Canterbury and was down the track behind Notation, who has since won twice at Saturday metro grade and is flying, so that form reads very well for this and his trial win at Beaudesert last week was very good, so keen to see how he goes.

Long Shot

7 Purple Cup (Bet Now: $6.00) is a handy galloper who was well supported when resuming over 1000m at Coffs Harbour where he had the suck run behind the speed and was there to win but couldn’t quite finish it off when fourth to San Marco, who won the Highway on Saturday so the form does read well for this and once again draws a good gate to do no work in the run.

Race 4. (14:15) Winning Edge Presentations Handicap (Class 2) 1600m

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It’s Highway form with 2 Onemore Sapphire (Bet Now: $2.50), but I reckon Terry Evans has this three year old absolutely flying. He was good without luck two back over 1500m at Rosehill before stepping back to 1400m where he got well back and charged home late to just miss out on picking up Dulette. Now back up to the mile, he looks a really good bet against this lot.


6 Malawi Gold (Bet Now: $6.00) is a Matty Dunn trained three year old who comes here in good form. Loved the way he attacked the line to win his maiden two back at Doomben before going to Eagle Farm where he was far from disgraced behind Black Wand. Thankfully this track is drying up because the firmer the better for this gelding and he’s a definite threat.

Long Shot

I think the 1600m will really suit the John Shelton trained 13 Revere (Bet Now: $19.00). He was a few weeks between runs when racing over 1350m at Ipswich last time where he got back in the run before Jim Byrne found clear air and the horse found the line well. Just ran out of puff late when fourth, beaten just under two lengths. Like him up to 1600m and is a clear chance.

Race 5. (14:50) Jacaranda Hotel Maiden Plate 1000m

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Hopefully sustained speed comes to the fore via the Brett Dodson trained two year old filly 14 In A Step (Bet Now: $2.30). Showed good speed to lead first up over 1000m at Coffs Harbour and looked home but was nabbed late by Siesta Key, who failed with excuses on the weekend. She does look a real jump/run filly and hopefully with the run under the belt, she’ll be stronger at the end.


2 Gus Lightning (Bet Now: $10.00) comes through the Siesta Key maiden at Coffs and I want to be very forgiving of this Warren Gavenlock runner. He got a bad check shortly after beginning and that pretty much sealed his fate but he did make ground late and I thought there was a stack of merit in the run. If the breaks go his way this time around, he can win for sure.

Long Shot

13 Texas Target (Bet Now: $13.00) is a Jim Jarvis trained filly who did a very good job in the Siesta Key maiden at Coffs given she was four wide for the trip, admittedly with cover, but did cover extra ground but despite that closed off well late to run third. Has had a few chances to break the maiden tag, but she’s a pretty consistent type and shouldn’t be far away I don’t think.

Race 6. (15:25) Grafton Guineas 1600m

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Think there is a really good roughie here in the shape of the Noel Doyle trained 8 Blue Comet (Bet Now: $9.00). Won three of his nine career outings, the latest coming two back in impressive fashion at the Gold Coast. Went to the Sunny Coast Guineas last time and just pen that run. The track was a bog, he was hooked back to near last from the wide gate..forget he went around. Can sit much closer in the run from the draw, depth nowhere near as strong and hopefully firmer footing.


He’s hot and cold is 1 Commander (Bet Now: $1.70) but when he’s right, he is a decent enough horse, as we saw two weeks back over the Randwick mile when on speed under Jackson Morris and proved too tough for Toryjoy, who franked the form with a win last Saturday. The problem with Commander is his consistency but a repeat effort of last start will see him go close.

Long Shot

13 Wotsizname (Bet Now: $15.00) is a John Shelton trained three year old who comes through the Guineas Prelude where he was held up for a few strides but looked to have his chance behind Charmed Princess. Has home track advantage and the Tongue Tie goes on, so perhaps there were excuses last time. Draws out wide, so gets clear and is one for wider multiples.

Race 7. (16:00) Ramornie Handicap 1200m

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I’m hoping the track firms up for 15 After All That (Bet Now: $20.00) because I think he’s a great gamble each way at decent odds for Rod Northam. Had two runs in the latter part of the Autumn, resuming with an eye catching seventh behind Viridine in the Ortensia at Scone before racing over 1400m at Randwick and I just think these days, beyond 1200m sees him out. Like him fresh, off a fast run 1200m on hopefully dry ground, and the tick over trial at Muswellbrook was good.


If you knew for certain that 1 Care To Think (Bet Now: $3.90) would turn up an d bring his best, then it would be no betting at all. He’d win. But it’s a matter of where he is at. His two runs in the Summer were below par of what he has produced in the past and has been given a good spell. His two trials have been excellent and is the clear class runner of the field.

Long Shot

4 Camdus (Bet Now: $31.00) is suited over this kind of trip. Showed enough zip in the legs first up at Randwick to suggest he could be a contender if they go very silly in front. Got a fair way back in the run but liked the way he found the line behind Deprive. Like him at 1200m and fresh legs should help his cause. Knockout chance for sure at decent odds against this lot.

Race 8. (16:35) Group l Feeds Handicap (Class 2) 1100m

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7 Manila Miss (Bet Now: $9.50) on top for me. Matty Dunn trains this filly, who hasn’t raced since October 20 at the Gold Coast when finishing midfield in a race which has produced four winners, so that reads well and her recent Deagon trial was very good. She’ll likely ease back off the speed to get cover and come with one run, which was how she was ridden in the trial.


5 Lady Clare (Bet Now: $11.00) is a Wayne Lawson trained filly who was a month between runs when racing over this track/distance on the first day of the Carnival and had no luck at all in the straight in a total forgive behind Just Sizzling. That was encouraging because her runs leading up to that after the first up win was average, so a repeat effort will see her in the mix.

Long Shot

12 Secrets No More (Bet Now: $51.00) has been thereabouts in recent times for the Brett Bellamy stable and while she hasn’t won, she’s been solid, the latest coming over 1200m here when a couple of lengths away from the Matty Dunn trained Chazelles. I reckon a fast run 1100m will be right up her alley…couldn’t back her to win, but certainly one to include in multiples.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Four Number 2 Onemore Sapphire

NEXT BEST: Race Two Number 2 Phobetor

LONG SHOT: Race Seven Number 15 After All That


Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):

Leg One: 2, 4, 13, 14

Leg Two: 1, 4, 6, 8

Leg Three: 1, 4, 6, 15, 16

Leg Four: 2, 4, 5, 7, 12

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