The Clarence River Jockey Club hold an eight event card at Grafton on Monday. The track rating (as of Sunday) is a Good 3, and the rail is out 4m from the 1000m-900m, out 8m from the 900m-350m then the cutaway plus another 3m from the 350m to the winning post.
Forgive Alcancia for her last start failure at Scone behind Charms Honour (ran second on Saturday at Randwick) when she raced wide and tired badly. The vet reported the filly had a poor recovery rate so there was excuses. She is not up against much here, with the debutantes all trialling poorly at best and the raced brigade not showing much, except for Graceful Spirit, who ran well at Newcastle. That filly will lead and Alcancia will get a nice drag over. Looks hard to beat.
Expect sharp improvement from Opportunities Won. Was solid on debut at Port Macquarie, then struggled on the heavy track at Taree behind The Zipster. The firm track is right up his alley and the step up to 1100m will suit him. Bred to get over further being by Starcraft but I think he can win here in what looks to be a tough race.
Blue Hawaii is from the same stable as Opportunities Won and he’ll improve here as well. I didn’t mind his run first up at Taree behind Salsbeel after missing the start and working home well at the end. Probably looking for further but he had good in Queensland and looks a great each-way bet in another tricky race for punters.
Tycoon Sun has been racing really well this time in. Toughed it out wel under 59.5kg to win at Ballina, then sat on the speed at Casino and looked to have had the race won before being nailed on the line. Drops in weight, and class and is drawn to get the right run for Amy White. Trainer Ian Savins has his stable firing at the moment and it should continue here.
Handsome Dane hasn’t done much in two runs to date but I’m expecting him to run a cheeky race here. Didn’t look comfortable in the going first up at Lismore, then he struggled in a tough race at Eagle Farm behind One Tree. He doesn’t meet much here and a senior rider is back on. Should get a cushy run from an ideal barrier and at odds, I’m prepared to go with him.
Mr Hornblower looks the good thing of the day. His last three runs have been excellent in Brissy. Got home well behind The Jackal at Eagle Farm, then lost a plate when finishing sixth behind Pyramids at Doomben before running a good sixth of eight at Eagle Farm in a leader dominated race. Looks very well weighted and there appears to be good speed in this race. He’ll be charging home and hopefully winning if he knows how to win again.
Follow That Cat has been excellent in her three runs this time in. Rattled home at Coffs first up, before sitting wide and battling on well at Doomben, then didn’t handle the going last start. She’ll appreciate a return to a firm track and if the pace is on for her, she’ll be hitting the line better than anything else in the race. Drop back in journey looks ideal as does the bigger size field.
The Crusader might be value here. Was with Barry Baldwin before switching to the Graeme Birney yard at Ballina. Had one start for Birney, and it was dismal at Grafton when finishing 13 lengths from the winner but he can’t show his best on a wet track and the dry surface may spark some sharp improvement. He’ll sit near the speed and give a great sight with the right run.
BEST BET: RACE SIX – MR HORNBLOWER
NEXT BEST: RACE FOUR – TYCOON SUN
BEST VALUE: RACE SEVEN – FOLLOW THAT CAT
Written by Adam Page
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