Dubai Raider Ready for Grafton Cup Gold

Gold In Dubai

Gold In Dubai has drawn barrier 4 for the Grafton Cup

Mark Riley is confident his in-form Victorian raider Gold In Dubai can emerge as this year’s Grafton Cup winner on Thursday after the five-year-old came up with an ace barrier draw for the Listed feature.

Running at Grafton on Thursday as the second major feature of Australia’s richest regional racing festival, the XXXX Gold July Carnival, the $150,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) drew a final field of 15 gallopers with one of the early favourites Gold In Dubai drawing to perfection with barrier four.

“Barrier four, I’m absolutely rapt,” Riley said.

The Desert Sun gelding comes into Thursday’s showdown on the back of two excellent runs in Queensland and sits on the third line of Grafton Cup betting behind the Brian Guy-trained Shuffle The Cash and Chris Waller’s Melbourne Cup-bound The Verminator.

After finishing well back in the Listed Spear Chief Handicap (1500m) in their Brisbane debut at Eagle Farm on June 4, Gold In Dubai found their feet next start when winning the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) by an easy two and a half lengths on June 18.

Next start they jumped up in the weights from their Ipswich Cup winning weight of 54.5kg to 57kg for the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) on June 2.

In a brave run, Gold In Dubai was narrowly beaten into second place when finishing a short-neck away from Caloundra Cup winner Spechenka.

“The horse has done enormous since Caloundra,” Riley said.

“He worked sensational up there the other day.”

Now on Thursday Gold In Dubai will target a second Cups victory this season, Riley hoping to see enough in the Grafton Cup to warrant targeting his new-found stayer for the Melbourne Spring Carnival features.

“Who knows, he might even turn into a Melbourne Cup horse,” Riley said optimistically.

“He’s seasoning now after coming off a sprinting preparation.”

Gold In Dubai will be just the second Grafton July Carnival runner for Riley in three decades, who was represented for the first time in 30 years last year.

The Mornington-based trainer also shared the 1978 Ramornie Handicap success of Mistress Anne, who was trained by his now 78-year-old father Martin.

“This is the best chance I’ve ever had to win a Grafton Cup,” Riley said of Gold In Dubai.

“It would be a fantastic homecoming.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Grafton with a very good Cup chance.

“Until last year, I hadn’t been to a July Carnival for 30 years.”

The horse that defeated Gold In Dubai last start, Beaudesert galloper Spechenka shares the equal Grafton Cup top-weight of 57kg with Gold In Dubai and Shuffle The Cash.

The Verminator has drawn wide with barrier 11 but carries just 54kg with Glyn Schofield in the mount while Lonhro four-year-old Summarise has the inside running from barrier one and will be ridden by this year’s Stradbroke Handicap-winning jockey Jason Taylor.

2011 WYKES Tyrepower Grafton Cup Final Field & Barriers

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp. Rating
1 0696312012 GOLD IN DUBAI Mark Riley Michael Walker 4 57kg 94
2 2041227152 SHUFFLE THE CASH Bryan Guy Michael Rodd 10 57kg 94
3 11151X2071 SPECHENKA Ben Ahrens Ryan Wiggins 5 57kg 94
4 3211X62211 THE VERMINATOR Chris Waller Glyn Schofield 11 54kg 88
5 X536220393 LITTLE STRANGER Brian Smith Chris Munce 13 53.5kg 87
6 31149X5241 SUMMARISE Stephen Theodore Jason Taylor 1 53kg 78
7 X8099X9606 TWO TOWERS Wanda Ings Peter Wells 6 53kg 77
8 6980480615 WARRIOR WITHIN Bruce W Hill Paul Hammersley 9 53kg 77
9 86121X2107 ARCENCIEL (NZ) Yves Seguin Scott Seamer 15 53kg 75
10 555X11X403 KING OF THE NILE Joanna Methven Nathan Thomas 7 53kg 74
11 4630X00681 INTERLOCKING (NZ) Troy Hall Terry Treichel 2 53kg 70
12 8487743615 CIRCLE OF FAME Ruth Cooper Robert Thompson 8 53kg 69
13 X039431764 BLACKETT STREET Fred Cowell Timothy Bell (a) 3 53kg 66
14 21335X2142 RODEO PLAYBOY John B Scott Ben Looker (a) 14 53kg 61
15 X075924561 NORTEPOPPY Alan Ryan Dale Spriggs (late alt) 12 53kg 58