Rodney Northam’s in-form four-year-old Big Money has opened short priced favourite to continue their awesome winter form in Wednesday’s Ramornie Handicap 2014 at Grafton Racecourse.
There are 12 sprinters left in this year’s $150,000 Listed Crowe Horwath Ramornie Handicap (1200m) field following the early scratching of the Donald Baker-trained Mr Favulous who won’t be put on the short back-up following a second in the Ascot Handicap in Brisbane last weekend.
Of the dozen remaining gallopers the clear favourite to win and secure back-to-back black-types is Choisir gelding Big Money paying $2.70 in the latest Ramornie Handicap odds.
Coming up trumps with the rails run from barrier one, they will again be ridden by the country’s most successful jockey in terms of winners, over 4000, Robert Thompson.
Thompson partnered with the horse, now a winner of six of their 10 starts for another four second place finishes, at Eagle Farm on June 21 where from the outside barrier (10) they scored a late win over Cape Kidnappers in the Group 3 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m).
Thompson is also looking to secure his second Ramornie Handicap win in as many years after his winning ride last year with roughie chance Youthful Jack prepared by the Cessnock jockey’s close friend, Taree trainer Ross Stitt.
If successful he will be entering the history books having already scored a back-to-back Ramornie Handicap double back in 2007 and 2008 with The Jackal.
The only other jockey to do double back-to-backs in the race is CJ Cecil “Skeeter” Kelly wo won in 1955-56 with Travatore, and 1958-59 with Blue Dart and Glanceful respectively.
After Big Money, who is also the market mover, it is a wide open affair in Ramornie Handicap betting with four other single figure chances.
Next best in better at $5.50 is the Benjamin Smith-trained Testarhythm in gate three with Tim Clark to ride the six-year-old gelding.
A first-up winner of the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) at Scone in May, the rising seven-year-old comes off a close third behind Oakfield Commands in the Winter Dash (1200m) at Randwick last month where from barrier 11 they finished only one land a half lengths off the winner.
They are followed then by the race’s 59kg top weight Hidden Warrior (barrier two) who has finally secured a jockey with Kody Nestor in the saddle and the Jarrod Austin-trained Lonhro six-year-old Territory in the outside gate paying $7 to improve on their Winter Dash seventh.
Gai Waterhouse’s returning galloper Under The Sun at $8 then rounds out the single figure chances before Startsmeup from the Gold Coast is best fancied of the double figure hopes at $14.
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