There has already been two early scratchings from this week’s 2014 Grafton Cup field and Caulfield based trainer Ciaron Maher has warned his defending champ Mr O’Ceirin is also no certainty of running.
The first two of the three emergencies for this year’s $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) are now in with a shot after #10 Grey Assignment and #15 High Kin were withdrawn from the starting line-up for Grafton Race 7 on Thursday.
Also in danger of coming out is the reigning Grafton Cup winner Mr O’Ceirin who has been allocated the 59kg top weight and is drawn wide.
The Postponed gelding enjoyed a narrow win in the country classic 12 months ago, also drawn wide that day in the outside gate, but had three kilos less to carry to victory.
Since then they’ve enjoyed a Group 3 win at Caulfield and have raced competitively throughout their recent winter prep.
Last time out though they over-raced after an awkward jump from the gates at the Sunshine Coast and could only manage to finish 14 lengths away ninth behind Brayroan in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m).
They could be given a chance to atone for that and secure their first win since September last year in the Grafton Cup, but it will depend on how his trainer rates the form in the race.
Maher has given himself until this afternoon to make the final call on whether six-year-old Mr O’Ceirin shoots for back-to-back Grafton Cups and is doing a detailed form review ahead of the decision.
“I’m just doing a bit of form on the race today and working out whether I run or not,” Maher said on Tuesday morning speaking to Racing Victoria.
“I just want to see whether I think he can win or not.
“I was hoping for a bit of rain – it looks like it’s a good three now and hot and windy leading into it, which is not in his favour – and he’s got a wide gate and a bit of weight.
“We’ve just got to weigh all that up and make a decision.”
There are five single figure chances in the latest Grafton Cup odds that are led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Zipping Classic runner-up Queenstown ($5.50).
Mr O’Ceirin is one of those paying $9.50.
If they don’t run there will be just one remaining Victorian-trained galloper in this year’s Grafton Cup field with the Michael Moroney-trained Garud ($11) who comes off a sixth to The Inventor in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.
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