Tony Gollan’s in-form seven-year-old Brave Ali has come up trumps with barrier four in the capacity field accepted for this Thursday’s Grafton Cup 2014 field.
Due to jump at 3:53pm as Race 7, this year’s $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) has attracted a bumper 19 final acceptors, 16 of which are assured of a start.
One of the big winners in the barrier draw for the Clarence River Jockey Club’s showcase event is O’Reilly gelding Brave Ali coming up with gate four, into three if the emergencies come out.
They have won four of their past six starts, three of those victories being for their new trainer Gollan who took over their preparation from Craig Martin during the autumn.
Group 3 placed this prep when third to Pretty Pins in the Chairman’s Handicap over 2000m three back, Brave Ali backed up to win the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on June 14.
Last time out on June 28 they then finished runner-up behind Brayroan in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m), form that stacked up again in Brisbane last Saturday with the winner running third to Iggi Pop in the Queensland Cup over the two miles.
Brave Ali carried 56.5kg in the Ipswich Cup and 56kg last start and so is also well weighted with the 56.5kg again this week.
The Grafton Cup weights are led by two gallopers with 59kg, the Ciaron Maher-trained defending champ Mr O’Ceirin and Gai Waterhouse’s Handsome Ransom gelding Travolta drawn in barriers 17 and 13 respectively.
Postponed gelding Mr O’Ceirin won the 100th edition of the Grafton Cup last winter ahead of a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign that included a Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) win at Caulfield.
Their form has been hit and miss this preparation however and they are out to improve on their disappointing ninth when beaten 14 lengths by Brayroan in the Caloundra Cup where they jumped awkwardly, overraced and lost a plate in a disastrous run.
Travolta meanwhile has had just the one run, a seventh over 1600m at Eagle Farm on June 21, since returning from a fourth in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) in New Zealand back in March.
Also drawn out wide, but with time and space to overcome, are the likes of the Chris Waller-trained 44-start veteran Permit (barrier 18) their stablemate Mulaquen (barrier 19), and Ruth Coopers’ Grafton Cup Prelude winner Mullet Man (16).
Dane Fever four-year-old Mullet Man won over 2210m here in the Prelude on July 3 carrying 54kg from barrier two but must handle a wider draw for the Cup when they get in on the minimum again.
Along with Mullet Man there are two other last start winners in this year’s Grafton Cup field Waller’s Winter Cup winner Secessio and Noisy Ocean for Bryan Guy drawn in gates nine and eight respectively.
Other notable hopes then include Waller’s fourth Grafton Cup acceptor Hoylonny coming off a second to their stablemate when Waller ran first four in the Winter Cup, the Gerald Ryan-trained Ironstein in their likely swansong, recent Chairman’s Handicap winner Pretty Pins coming off a third in the Tattersall’s Cup and Waterhouse’s other runner Stratum mare Queenstown.
Check out the full Grafton Cup 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below.
Then head over to our preferred sportsbook Ladbrokes.com.au as they will be offering the top Grafton Cup betting odds and bonuses this week!
2014 Grafton Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Grafton Race 7 (3:53pm) – 10/07/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||100×027259||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Blake Shinn||17||59kg||103|
|2||81221234×7||TRAVOLTA (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Timothy Bell||13||59kg||103|
|3||2811865654||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||–||18||58kg||101|
|4||x715111312||BRAVE ALI (NZ)||Tony Gollan||Tegan Harrison (a)||4||56.5kg||98|
|5||3355×73361||SECESSIO (GB)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||9||56.5kg||98|
|6||001230×002||HOYLONNY||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||5||56kg||97|
|7||4665×57445||IRONSTEIN||Gerald Ryan||Paul Hammersley||2||54.5kg||94|
|8||x779951343||PRETTY PINS (NZ)||John P Thompson||Ryan Wiggins||12||54kg||96|
|9||1x22123x35||QUEENSTOWN||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||7||54kg||95|
|10||177×067603||GREY ASSIGNMENT||Brian Smith||–||10||54kg||90|
|11||65411×0543||MULAQEN (GB)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||19||54kg||90|
|12||168×070440||WAZN (IRE)||Tony Newing||Paul King||1||54kg||92|
|13||8126588621||NOISY OCEAN||Bryan Guy||Jim Byrne||8||54kg||88|
|14||6046×03356||GARUD (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Glen Boss||11||54kg||87|
|15||200×959484||HIGH KIN (NZ)||Stewart Mackinnon||–||14||54kg||84|
|16||51642×7931||MULLET MAN||Ruth Cooper||Glenn Lynch||16||54kg||69|
|17e||5252632194||PHRASES||Bindi Cheers||Matthew Paget||15||54kg||83|
|18e||11×8818613||ONGOING VENTURE||Darlene Duryea||–||6||54kg||73|