Experienced gelding Castlemagne King will be racing for a spot in next week’s Listed $150,000 2012 Grafton Cup (2350m) when he lines up in today’s Grafton Cup Prelude (2100m).
The Basil Ryan-trained six-year-old has been in excellent form of late and if he can continue that and win today, Ryan is likely to enter him in the Grafton feature.
“The Grafton Cup is a completely different race but he’ll get in with 54 kilos and we’ll just see how we go,” Ryan said.
Castlemagne King is coming off a tough victory in the Murwillumbah Cup, winning despite having an injury-affected preparation.
The son of King Charlemagne suffered soreness after standing on pebbles during trackwork at his Coffs Harbour base, allowing him just seven days work in the leading into the Murwillumbah Cup win.
The veteran of 59 starts has finished in the top three in his past three outings and Ryan believes he is in better condition than the horse that won at Murwillumbah.
“The horse is as good as gold, ready to go,” Ryan said.
“He’s improved a couple of lengths since then. He’s going to be pretty hard to beat.”
The gelding’s biggest rival in today’s Grafton Cup prelude is likely to be Sue Grills-trained mare Danahere who is coming off a last-start win at the track.
If Castlemagne does get through today’s race and gains a start in next week’s Grafton Cup, he will face the biggest test of his career with some quality horses set to line up.
One horse likely to be there is Shenzhou Steeds who has been highly impressive of late, winning both the Listed Ipswich and Caloundra Cups at the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
Another likely starter is John Thompson-trained gelding Shamardashing who finished fourth twice at Group level at the Brisbane Winter Carnival.