Despite so many early scratchings, seven and counting, from the Grafton Cup 2014 field the Clarence River Jockey Club’s showcase race is still shaping up as a cracker with a number of livewire chances for punters to take note of.
Running as Grafton Race 7 at 3:53pm this afternoon, the $150,000 Listed Grafton District Services Club Grafton Cup (2350m) originally attracted a capacity field.
There are now just 12 hopefuls with seven coming out of contention including last year’s Grafton Cup winner Mr O’Ceirin, two Chris Waller-trained hopefuls (Permit and Mulaqen) and Tony Gollan’s injured Ipswich Cup winner Brave Ali.
Firming favourite at $3.10 is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Stratum mare Queenstown who is third-up this time in and set to enjoy a sharp distance increase from a mile to the 2350m this afternoon.
It’s an open market after the top fancy with five other single figure hopes in the mix including Waterhouse’s other runner Travolta ($7.50), Winter Cup winner Secessio ($6) and their stable mate who ran second in the same race Hoylonny ($7).
So can Queenstown salute for the punters?
Or is there an upset Grafton Cup result on the card?
#6 Hoylonny ($7)
Think Waller’s stunning season will continue with another winter black-type here, Lonhro five-year-old Hoylonny set to turn the tables on their last start conqueror. They were 11th in two Rosehill races earlier this campaign but relished the extra distance over the mile and a half in the Winter Cup when defeated a nose. They get a similar distance here but go up one kilo to 56kg. Should handle that though, was only snared late in her lead-up run after sitting at the front so from a nice draw here can hang on for the win.
#5 Secessio ($6)
Winter Cup winner got to Hoylonny in the final stride and took out the race after dropping back from the two miles when a distant sixth to Destiny’s Kiss in the Stayers Cup (3200m) the run before. Have been performing well against black-type company all winter when third in both the Lord Mayors Stakes and McKell Cup over 2000m and 2400m so distance looks ideal here. Only thing is they go up from 54.5kg to 56.5kg and could be getting tired. Firm track suits but the weight will be the deciding factor.
#9 Queenstown ($3.10)
Deserving favourite based on her spring form that included a nice third in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) in November under WFA. Two runs this time in have been full over merit over unsuitably short distances so will be ready to strike third-up over more metres with jockey Tim Clark confident she’s set to peak.
Whether you’re backing or sacking our Grafton Cup 2014 betting selections make sure you place your bets online at Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll get the hottest odds with their Best Tote or SP markets.
*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change