Scone trainer Rodney Northam is hoping the recent good form of WJ Healy winners in the Ramornie Handicap holds this year as he prepares to saddle-up livewire chance Big Money in the Grafton feature this week.
Running as Grafton Race 7 at 3:42pm on Wednesday, this year’s $150,000 Listed Crowe Horwath Ramornie Handicap (1200m) features a quality field of 13 sprinters.
Likely favourite in Ramornie Handicap betting will be Northam’s rails-drawn stable star Big Money.
Yet to finish out of the top two in their 10 career starts to date, the four-year-old Choisir gelding was last seen running down the leaders in the closing stages to win the Group 3 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.
They did all the work in that race from the outside barrier (10) with Robert Thompson in the saddle, the duo reuniting for the Ramornie where Big Money will get the run of the race from gate one.
The horse does go up from the 54kg minimum in the WJ Healy to 56kg on Wednesday, however they are still looking like the one to beat.
“He’s come through the Healy really well,” Northam told TVN.
“He is a real competitor, he tries so hard every start.
“Considering that he is a Group 3 winner he isn’t badly treated at the weights with 56kg.”
Ramornie Handicap winners have a notable affinity with the WJ Healy Stakes in recent years.
Pinwheel ran second at Eagle Farm before their 2010 Ramornie Handicap and won the Healy the next year, while last year’s Healy winner Howmuchdoyloveme won the 2012 Ramornie by four lengths.
Thompson, 56, also believes Big Money is set for a win on Wednesday after improving throughout their campaign.
“He has kept improving all the time, he’s pretty honest and doesn’t know how to run a bad race,” Thompson, shooting for back-to-back wins after guiding Youthful King to victory in last year’s Ramornie told The Courier Mail.
“He’s in good form, and I know Rod is happy with him.”
Along with Big Money the other big name Ramornie Handicap hopes this year include the Gordon Yorke-trained Hidden Warrior, Lonhro gelding Territory, last weekend’s Ascot Handicap runner-up Mr Favulous and Testarhythm coming off a Winter Dash third in what is shaping up as a close showdown.
After the Ramornie, win or lose Northam plans to send Big Money to the paddock to spell ahead of a spring return where they could target features in Sydney, Melbourne and perhaps even Perth during the Ascot Summer Racing Carnival.
“We’ll aim him at some races over the spring in Sydney, maybe even Melbourne or Perth after that if his form warrants it,” Northam said.
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