Grafton track specialist Tim Bell has described his 2015 Ramornie Handicap ride Bound For Earth as a “good chance” in the race that lights-up the Clarence River Jockey Club’s Wednesday meeting this week.
The major sprint showdown of the two-day Grafton Cup Carnival, this year’s $150,000 Listed Crowe Horwath Ramornie Handicap (1200m) field is at capacity with 16 starters plus two emergencies.
Leading the current Ramornie Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.80, in from $4, is talented mare I’ve Got The Looks from the stables of Peter & Paul Snowden.
Outside of the single figure hopes but still a livewire chance at a good price is one of the market movers, Bound For Earth firming in from $15 to $13.
Toby Edmonds’ Gold Coast-trained daughter of Northern Meteor is an in-form four-year-old having her first start at the track.
She’s drawn wide in gate 13 but is down in class and distance after running fourth behind star mare Srikandi at home in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) on June 20.
Before that Bound For Earth, who hasn’t won a race since the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) back in September of 2013, was in fine form running third in both the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone and the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m) at Doomben as a 20/1 outsider.
She may be inexperienced at Grafton but Bell, who was aboard for her Tatt’s Tiara fourth where she jumped at $41 for the win, knows the track like the back of his hand after doing plenty of riding as an apprentice there for his old Tamworth-based boss Sue Grills.
He chases his maiden Ramornie Handicap win however, the hoop saying he always seems to be sidelined when the XXXX Gold July Racing Carnival rolls around.
“It has always been a big Carnival for my old boss Sue Grills and when I was with her we always took a big team of horses to Grafton,” Bell told The Courier-Mail.
“I know the track very well as I did a lot of riding there as a NSW country apprentice.
“But I have never won a Ramornie and I think Bound For Earth can be the horse who ticks that box.
“I’ve always seem to have been suspended at Ramornie time so it will be nice to go down to Grafton with a good chance in the race.”
The Ramornie Handicap victory on Wednesday would be an excellent way to round out the season for the Queensland hoop who with 51 wins sits well outside the race towards the Brisbane jockeys’ premiership title, current leader being Jim Byrne on 66 wins.
“I haven’t got my tail between my legs just yet but I have to be realistic that Jimmy is going to be almost impossible to catch,” Bell, who will finish second after taking out the premiership last season, said.
“It would have been good to go back-to-back but I’m still really happy with my season.
“Jimmy has been riding really well the last couple of months and had some good support from some nice stables.”
Bell rates Bound For Earth as an improver in Wednesday’s Ramornie Handicap field that also features the likes of the Kris Lees-trained Group 3 winning Red Ransom mare Thump ($7) and Godolphin’s Canny Lad gelding Barbed ($9), saying there were excuses in the Tiara last time out.
“There wasn’t much speed in the Tatts Tiara once Srikandi found the front but my mare travelled quite well in the race and wasn’t beaten far at all,” he said.
“The Grafton track should suit Bound For Earth and I think there isn’t as much depth in the Ramornie as there was in the Tiara.”
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