The bookies are rating the spring form of Gai Waterhouse’s staying mare Queenstown to stack up this week when she takes on a top field in Thursday’s Grafton Cup 2014.
Last time in the Stratum four-year-old was ultra-competitive running top three in all five of her spring assignments including going down a nose in a Group 2 over 2000m at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day and her third in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) in mid-November.
She’s back up to close to that distance this week then for the $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m), her third run of the season.
First-up Queenstown ran third over 1400m at Rosehill before her last start fifth when beaten two and a half lengths by Kingdoms in the Listed Centenary Classic Tatt’s Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm.
That’s form the bookies believe she’ll improve on when going up to the mile and a half, Queenstown paying $5.50 as the favourite in the latest Grafton Cup odds.
Three other hopes are also under double figures to win the Grafton Cup this year with the Chris Waller-trained Mulaquen the $7 second pick.
Drawn in the extreme outside barrier for Thursday, the imported Haafhad six-year-old has been improving with each run this time in and comes off a close third when just a quarter length off their winning stablemate Secessio in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on June 28.
Brave Ali then follows on $8.50, the in-form Brisbane galloper having won three of their past five starts.
Prepared by the 2013-14 season’s most successful Queensland trainer Tony Gollan, O’Reilly seven-year-old Brave Ali won the Ipswich Cup two back before their second behind Brayroan in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) a fortnight ago.
Waller’s veteran Dansili gelding Permit, out in the second widest gate, ran fourth in the Winter Cup last time out with 58kg which is the same weight they’ve been allocated for the Grafton feature.
They are the last of the single figure chances paying $9.50 before the reigning Grafton Cup winner Mr O’Ceirin ($10) and fellow 59kg top weight Travolta for Waterhouse come in at $10.
Also paying $10 is Waller’s Winter Cup champ Secessio who goes up from 54.5kg to 56.5kg but retains the services of top hoop Tye Angland and Glen Boss’s mount Garud coming off a sixth to The Inventor in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) from June 21.
It’s an open market from there too with a logjam of other livewire chances including Waller’s Winter Cup runner-up Hoylonny ($13) who went down by a nose and the Gerald Ryan-trained Ironstein ($13) in barrier two for what will be their likely career last run.
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