This Thursday the action of the Clarence River Jockey Club’s $1 million July Grafton Cup Carnival will hit fever pitch with the festival’s premier event, the 2012 Grafton Cup, set to light up the track.
Set to run as Grafton Race 6 at 3:22pm the $150,000 Listed Maclean Bowling Club Grafton Cup (2350m) has this year drawn a final field of 11 gallopers.
Among the Grafton Cup acceptors for 2012 is defending champ Warrior Within, the Bruce Hill-trained Gold Coast raider having won the race on the back of a Caloundra Cup fifth 12 months ago.
The King Cugat six-year-old has failed to win a race since but has been thereabouts in their two most recent runs.
After a failed run in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) beaten 37 lengths on the unsuitably Heavy (8) track at the start of last month Warrior Within improved leaps and bounds next-up when third to Shenzhou Steeds in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on June 16.
They were last seen running another brave third this time beaten only a length by Ginga Dude in the Group 3 Tatt’s Cup (2200m) and are set to improve again stepping up to the 2350-metres on Thursday.
Last year Warrior Within carried just 53kg to victory in the Grafton Cup and they have a tougher test this time round as they go up five kilos with 58kg, Paul Hammersley to ride from barrier three.
Topweight of the Grafton Cup 2012 field is then the Brian Smith-trained Hume with 59kg.
The Brisbane visitor has been out of form in their three runs following a second-up victory in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 12.
The rising Zabeel nine-year-old raced on the weekend but failed to step up to the two miles when finishing seventh, 29.5 lengths away from the winner Spechenka, in the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm.
Also weighted above the 54kg minimum are the John Thompson-trained Shamardashing (57.5kg) coming off a good fourth in the Tatt’s Cup on June 23, Stephen Farley’s veteran Street Cry gelding Gazza Guru (56.5kg) and the fellow Thompson-strained Saint Encosta (54.5kg) to be ridden by last Saturday’s Ascot Handicap winning jockey Ryan Wiggins.
Meanwhile gallopers coming off some nice lead-up form include Ross Stitt’s Southern Image four-year-old Southern Shimmer and Blinkin Easy who is the only last-start winner in the feature coming off a brilliant effort in the Grafton Cup Prelude last week.
See below for the complete 2012 Grafton Cup field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2012 Grafton Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Grafton Race 6 – 3:22pm – 12/07/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||0904×01097||HUME (NZ)||Brian Smith||Scott Galloway||5||59kg||91|
|2||0635930833||WARRIOR WITHIN||Bruce W Hill||Paul Hammersley||3||58kg||89|
|3||8835311404||SHAMARDASHING||John P Thompson||Jeff Lloyd||9||57.5kg||88|
|4||8578×06106||GAZZA GURU||Stephen Farley||Peter Robl||6||56.5kg||86|
|5||770266×300||SAINT ENCOSTA||John P Thompson||Ryan Wiggins||7||54.5kg||82|
|6||64×0434752||SOUTHERN SHIMMER||Ross Stitt||Robert Thompson||1||54kg||75|
|7||6716633010||DANAHERE (NZ)||Sue Grills||Ric McMahon||4||54kg||72|
|8||0010700371||BLINKIN EASY||Ruth Cooper||Timothy Bell (a)||11||54kg||71|
|9||x445150083||RODEO PLAYBOY||John B Scott||Ben Looker||2||54kg||69|
|10||111134×774||FRENCH GIFT||Steve Hodge||Ms Alex Stokes (a)||10||54kg||68|
|11||72×8893172||TRADING SECRETS (NZ)||Mark Lynch||Luke Rolls||8||54kg||62|