The Grafton Carnival reaches its high point on Thursday with Grafton Cup Day, one of the better Country Cups in NSW. The weather is fine, the track is soft (5) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.
Race 1. (12:20) Fidelity Capital Handicap (66) 1000m
Like 11 All About Charlie (Bet Now: $9.00) back to 1000m. She was well specked at odds last start at Coffs over 1300m but the tempo was a tad on the soft side which saw her pull a fraction in the run which took the sprint from her late when fourth to Magic Beneteau. Like her back to the sprint trip and off a good speed, she should relax in the run and be strong late.
Les Tilley has had good success at the Grafton Carnival in the past and he brings an in form 4 Nosey (Bet Now: $5.50) to Grafton this year. This gelding was a month between runs when racing at Gosford back on May 30 when wide no cover on speed and fighting on strongly to just be beaten by the then in form Celer. Seems to race best with fresh legs, which is what he has here, and is a definite threat.
9 The Eulo Queen (Bet Now: $6.00) is a daughter of Hidden Dragon for Aidan St Vincent that resumes. This mare hasn’t raced since April 8 at Ballina when doing a stack of work in the run and was entitled to drop away but she kept finding and was too good. Off the trial last week, I’d say no, but she has trialled like that in the past and run well so I wouldn’t pen her.
Race 2. (12:55) The Bidfood Handicap (Class 1) 1400m
Think we’ll get a good guide as to how good 6 Hellenism (Bet Now: $2.30) is. Brett Dodson trains this filly, who has been outstanding in both career runs, both at Coffs Harbour. Debuted over 1200m when back and finding the line strongly before stepping up to 1400m when working over to find the lead and that was the end of the race as she spanked her rivals and ran decent time. Hard to beat with natural improvement.
4 True Quality (Bet Now: $4.00) is a Matt Dunn trained filly who has been pretty good in two career outings. Debuted with a dominant win at Doomben at the midweeks before being tipped out. Resumed on her home track at Murwillumbah and I thought she had every chance when third to I Like Candy. Been given a tick over trial at Deagon and stable are always hard to beat at Grafton.
16 Flying Prince (Bet Now: $23.00) has been pretty solid in two runs back from a spell for the Lynette Thomson stable. Resumed over 1300m at Coffs and made up a stack of ground from the back to run fifth before going back to 1200m here where he again got well off them but found the line with purpose late to run second. He’ll eat up 1400m and hopefully can sit that bit closer in the run.
Race 3. (13:35) Mother's Gift 1400m
I reckon Ross Stitt has 1 Cash Spinner (Bet Now: $19.00) going well. This mare was four weeks between runs when racing in the Wacuhope Cup at Port Macquarie last start where she got back, made a sustained run out wide and just petered on the run late when third to O’Driscoll. Has a great record at Grafton, like her back to 1400m and back to mares grade, she’s hard to beat.
6 Bedtime Stories (Bet Now: $4.50) is an Allan Kehoe trained mare who drops a bit in depth after racing at the midweeks at Canterbury last time when spending plenty of petrol tickets to hold up from an inside gate and that early burn just left her with no petrol tickets for the straight in a total forgive behind Haut Brion Her, who looks potentially blacktype quality, so that form reads well for this and like Collett going on.
11 Foxy Walk (Bet Now: $9.00) has been a decent mare for the Terry McCarthy stable for a little while and deserves a crack at this kind of race. Led all the way to win last time over 1300m at Ballina, leading all the way and showing really good toughness after copping pressure in front. She found plenty in the straight and was much too good. More depth here, but she’ll be on speed and is tough.
Race 4. (14:10) Springboard To Fame Plate 1200m
Thought there was a stack of merit in the first up win of 8 Centrefire (Bet Now: $4.40) at Doomben for Chris Munce given she was first up, four months between runs, did work to find the lead and though out of petrol tickets late, she got the job done. Looks to be a stack of speed drawn wide so hoping that Cormack can tuck in and get the good drag up behind a strong tempo.
3 Cinco Star (Bet Now: $6.00) is a stablemate of Karaja who resumes and returns as a gelding. Debuted at Lismore on Feb 12 when on speed and proving too good for his rivals on the wet track despite doing a bit wrong in the run and in the straight. Has had two trials in readiness for his return and interesting that Fradd rides this bloke over Karaja. Market will be the guide.
Really interesting runner is 12 Underwood (Bet Now: $8.00), a Billy Healey trained filly who is 2/2 this time in, the latest win coming in late May at Casino when on speed and fighting hard to get the win. Kept up to the mark with a sharp trial win at Beaudesert and while she lacks the class of some of these, she’s certainly got the right racing pattern to worry a few of these.
Race 5. (14:50) The Big Maiden Handicap 1200m
I’ll take a chance on 3 Yarrinup Flyer (Bet Now: $8.50), a former Anthony Freedman runner that makes his NSW debut for the Jim Jarvis team. Stable has had good success with tried horses, and this bloke resumes without the blinkers and loved the way he hit the line in a recent Coffs Harbour trial. Does no work from the inside gate and suspect he’ll be ready to go.
Firmer footing will really help the Kristen Buchanan trained 4 Designated (Bet Now: $5.50). He ran over 1200m at Kembla last time out on a bog surface and the wheels were spinning from the outset on the track and he didn’t go a yard in the going so a total forgive job. The run prior behind Satin Socks was very good and a repeat effort of that will see him go close here.
9 Another Sheila (Bet Now: $8.50) is a Wayne Oakenfull trained filly who seems to be getting better with racing. Attempted to lead all the way in a Tamworth maiden last time out and tried hard but just found Hercules Mo too good late, who does look a handy horse, so I’m respecting that form and the big tick for this filly is the Blinkers going on for the first time, hopefully to improve her.
Race 6. (15:25) Association Plate (Class 6) 1200m
5 Dream Master (Bet Now: $2.50) is a Dream Ahead filly for Toby Edmonds that resumes. This bloke was a real model of consistency when last work, often being around the mark and winning a couple of races on the bounce. Like him first up at 1200m, he’s had a couple of trials in readiness for his return and has looked pretty good to the eye. Definite chance off a hot speed I’m hoping.
3 Tawfiq Boy (Bet Now: $3.40) is a son of I Am Invincible that is first up for the Kris Lees stable. This gelding hasn’t raced since April 28 in the Tamworth Cup when down the track behind Unbiased after settling wide no cover on speed, tiring late. Been given a good break and has prepared for his return with two pleasing trials. Has class and that will carry him a long way.
Terribly weighted but I reckon 16 No Qualm (Bet Now: $101.00) is a good roughie here first up, where I suspect that he’ll run well but I dare say he’ll be peaking up for the Coffs Cup Carnival in a few weeks time. Thought he ran very well in three runs last time in, winning first up at Port Macquarie in impressive fashion. He’ll likely ease back, find cover and look to hit the line late.
Race 7. (16:05) Grafton Cup 2350m
2350m on a big track looks an ideal set up for 9 Sacred Day (Bet Now: $14.00), who finally got a win next to his name during the Winter when getting the job done last time out at Doomben, aided by a very good ride from Corey Bayliss. He didn’t sit out the back and wait until it was all over. He got going early to be near the speed on the turn and from there his staying prowess came to the fore. He’ll take some beating here I’m sure.
1 Igraine (Bet Now: $3.10) does look the horse to beat on current form. This kiwi mare, trained by Robert Priscott, comes to Grafton off the back of a pretty dominant win in the Caloundra Cup last time under a confident steer from Robbie Fradd, spanking her rivals and loving the mud. She is capable on a dry deck but clearly saves her best for a track with give in it so weather will be crucial.
Up in trip will really suit 5 Vaucluse Bay (Bet Now: $8.00). His form at this distance range was pretty good via to a freshen up and racing over 1800m at Eagle Farm when looking in need of the run behind Duca Valentinois, but the effort was more than sound. Tick over trial at Beaudesert was quite good and like him up in trip, and Chris Waller has had over 10 cracks to win this race.
Race 8. (16:40) Sir James Kirby Quality 1000m
The noms suggested this would be a ripping edition. Final field…it’s one of the weaker editions. Still, a winner to be found, and I think the winner will be the Toby Edmonds trained 2 Impregnable (Bet Now: $6.50). This five year old is first up, having not raced since Feb 2 at Eagle Farm when down the track behind Divine Dice. Recent trials have been good, goes well fresh and is 3/3 at the track.
6 Boom Chicka Boom (Bet Now: $2.00) is a Les Kelly trained gelding who is over two weeks between runs when attempting to lead all the way at Eagle Farm but just copped a bit too much pressure and was left a sitting shot for Hirtshals in a driving go to the line. Think he’ll be better with a sit just off the speed and if that eventuates, he’ll take some beating here.
11 Attila (Bet Now: $5.00) lacks the class of a few of these but gee Sue Grills has him going really well at the moment, winning his past two in impressive fashion. The latest start/win came in the Cannonball at Coonamble when off the speed before angling into clear and loved the way he attacked the line to get the win. Fast run 1000m looks right up his alley and he deserves a crack at this kind of race.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Two Number 6 Hellenism
NEXT BEST: Race Three Number 1 Cash Spinner
LONG SHOT: Race Seven Number 9 Sacred Day
Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):
Leg One: 3, 4, 9, 11
Leg Two: 3, 5, 6, 16
Leg Three: 1, 3, 4, 5, 9
Leg Four: 2, 5, 6, 8, 11
$50 Investment = 12.50% of the dividend if successful
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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