After missing out on the race last year, the now Gerald Ryan-trained Oakfield Commands could be set for a shot at the Ramornie Handicap 2014 again this Grafton Cup Carnival.
The Commands gelding was previously prepared by the Broadmeadow-based Darren Smith and in line for a shot at NSW richest country sprint race the $150,000 Listed WHK Ramornie Handicap (1200m).
They didn’t end up running in the Grafton feature however but could get the chance to run this year for their new trainer.
Ryan took over the preparation of the now six-year-old just this winter with Smith under investigation for administering cobalt to horses under his care.
Oakfield Commands has had just the one run for Ryan then, a win at Randwick in the $85,000 Winter Dash (1200m) last Saturday.
That run gave Ryan confidence they could continue this prep with their maiden Black Type assignment.
He’s then looking at the Ramornie on July 9, a race the galloper’s previous trainer Smith has tried to win three times since 1998.
Last Saturday Oakfield Commands carried just 52kg on their back with apprentice Lester Grace, riding for Ryan for the first time, guiding them to a one and a quarter length win over veteran eight-year-old Zaratone.
While keen to strike while the iron is hot and continue onto Grafton, Ryan said they wouldn’t accept in the race if the horse received too much weight.
“We will enter him for the Ramornie,” Ryan told AAP.
“It looks like a nice race for him and he should get in on the minimum weight.”
The other feature of the carnival is of course the $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 10.
This year’s Grafton Cup has been ruled out for David Kelly’s Gold Coast galloper Hi Son.
The Husson four-year-old caught the eye at Eagle Farm last weekend running second behind Kingdoms in the Listed Mercedes Benz Centenary Mile (1600m).
While confident of his gelding’s ability, Kelly doesn’t believe he would be ready for the Grafton Cup over the extra distance this time in.
He still plans to take them to the track however shooting for another Northern Rivers feature win in the South Grafton Cup (1600m) on July 6 the more realistic goal.
“I don’t think we can have him ready. I think the South Grafton Cup on July 6 is more like it,” Kelly said.
In the Open Mile Hi Son, a dual winner over 2100m at Doomben back in February, was ridden by flying apprentice hoop Tegan Harrison.
She starts a riding suspension on Saturday for her shifting ride on The Inventor in Saturday’s Tattersall’s Cup so will miss the Caloundra Cup Day features at the Sunshine Coast.
Harrison though will be back in time for the Grafton Cup Carnival and to continue her association with Hi Son.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the upcoming Grafton races.
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