They are third favourite in the markets for the 2014 Ramornie Handicap at Grafton this Wednesday, but trainer Jarrod Austin believes his galloper Territory can give the favourite a run for their money.
Set to jump at 3:42pm as Grafton Race 7 this year’s $150,000 Listed Crowe Horwath Ramornie Handicap (1200m) is down to 12 hopes after the early scratching #9 Mr Favulous.
Red hot favourite in the Ramornie Handicap odds at a current quote of $2.70 is Big Money, Rodney Northam’s Scone-based galloper coming off a brave win in the Group 3 WJ Healy Stakes (1200m) in Brisbane.
Second pick in the markets at $5.50 is then recent Ortensia Stakes winner Testarhythm drawn in barrier three before Austin’s widely drawn hope Territory comes in at $7.
Lonhro six-year-old Territory has the outside gate, 13, to overcome on the weekend and two lead-up losses to atone for.
They enjoyed back-to-back Sydney wins back in March before a three months spell which they came back from on June 7 at Randwick in the Listed June Stakes (1100m).
On a Heavy (8) track they finished fifth that day behind Avoid Lightning and were beaten around the same four – four and a half length margin last start too when seventh in the Winter Dash (1200m) back at the track on the 21st of last month.
Despite some evidence going against the Sydney-based Territory, their Warwick Farm trainer Austin remains confident that their racing pattern will see them overcome their double figure draw and put up a big challenge.
“It’s not the end of the world for us,” Austin said of the draw to The Daily Telegraph.
“Obviously, it would have been nicer to draw a little closer but we will stick to our normal pattern now.
“We don’t have to go forward and we won’t be going forward so I’m not too worried about the barrier.”
Also helping the horse to make the most of the barrier is up-and-coming star Sydney hoop Tye Angland staying on after riding them in the Winter Dash.
“Tye wanted to stay with Territory, which is encouraging,” Austin said of the internationally performed jockey who rode a recent winner in Hong Kong.
“Territory doesn’t have a long sprint, so it is good to have a rider on him that knows the horse.”
With clear skies and dry weather in Grafton for the July Carnival the track is looking to be in the good range for Wednesday’s meet.
While Territory’s best record is on Dead (7-2-0-2) to Slow (4-2-0-0) ground, Austin remains confident they can still perform on firmer ground despite just the one win from 14 starts on Good rated tracks.
Angland meanwhile also has a gun mount for Thursday’s $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) booked to partner one of Chris Waller’s four chances, Secessio.
The Konigstiger five-year-old comes off a nostril-flare win over stablemate Hoylonny in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) for which Angland was also aboard.
In the Grafton Cup field Waller also saddles up his Winter Cup runner-up Hoylonny, third placed Mulaquen and veteran stayer Permit who finished off his first four in the June 28 feature.
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