The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Kris Lees’ class Frankel mare Frankely Awesome is tipped to continue her ace return to racing leading pre-field markets on the Grafton Cup 2020 nominations this winter.
The always popular Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) offers $200,000 in stakes for 2020 and the quality handicap clash – taking place as the pride of the Clarence River Jockey Club’s two-day Cup Carnival on Thursday July 9 – attracted 23 early entries this week.
It’s a tight top-half of the all-in Grafton Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au with a host of stayers battling for favouritism including four-year-old Frankely Awesome who comes off a win in Rosehill’s Listed W J McKell Cup (2000m) from June 27.
A dual Group 1 placegetter last autumn as a three-year-old filly, things went amiss for Lees’ promising type after her third to Verry Elleegant in the ATC Oaks (2400m).
After a couple of below par autumn runs this year, she looks back to her best following two nice Sydney runs this winter including the McKell Cup win over stablemate Sixties Groove.
Lees’ W J McKell Cup quinella currently share top spot in the markets for the Grafton Cup with Frankely Awesome and last year’s Group 2 Brisbane Cup winner Sixties Groove at $5 each.
Frankely Awesome carried 54kg to victory last start and will be going up to 56kg in the Grafton Cup weights, while Sixties Groove goes up from 60kg to the 61kg topweight for next Thursday’s feature.
Newcastle horseman Lees has two further Grafton Cup nominations this year with veteran eight-year-old Big Duke ($10) – winless since October of 2017 – and in-form Mastercraftsman mare Chilly Cha Cha ($17) also potentially lining-up for the stable.
Occupying the second line of Grafton Cup betting ahead of next Monday’s final acceptances at $6 is the Chris Waller-trained W J McKell Cup third placed Carzoff.
The French-bred Zoffany seven-year-old is out to break a notable drought going back to July last year, but has been competitive in plenty since including his Listed Winter Cup (2400m) second to stablemate Wu Gok in the wet ahead of his McKell Cup placing.
Like Lees, Waller has a total of four horses nominated for the 2020 Grafton Cup as he chases his first win in the winter feature.
Kaonic, The Lord Mayor and Satono Rasen round out the Waller contingent with the first two at single-figure quotes of $8 and $9 respectively to win.
The other horse sitting top of the Grafton Cup ballot along with Frankely Awesome meanwhile is the Edward O’Rourke-trained Nemingah who has won three of his past four starts.
The Kiwi-bred Nom Du Jeu four-year-old is only rated a $26 shot in the early markets however despite his last start win in the Grafton Cup Prelude (2230m) race on June 28.
Other notable entries include Michael Costa’s Group 3 Premier’s Cup runner-up La Pulga ($10) prepared on the Gold Coast in Queensland and the John Thompson-trained Sebring five-year-old Primitivo ($12).
2020 Grafton Cup Nominations
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||True Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||7223x07x61||FRANKELY AWESOME||M||4||Kris Lees||1=||56kg||56kg||100|
|2||336×521131||NEMINGAH (NZ)||G||4||Edward O’Rourke||1=||54kg||54kg||64|
|3||3321x0x972||SIXTIES GROOVE (IRE)||G||7||Kris Lees||3||61kg||61kg||106|
|4||945×024923||CARZOFF (FR)||G||7||Chris Waller||4||58kg||58kg||100|
|5||326x750x90||BIG DUKE (IRE)||G||8||Kris Lees||5||57.5kg||57.5kg||99|
|6||2133×08364||THE LORD MAYOR (NZ)||G||5||Chris Waller||6||56kg||56kg||96|
|7||6×54121162||LA PULGA||G||4||Michael Costa||7||54.5kg||54.5kg||93|
|9||9x0225x004||SATONO RASEN (JPN)||G||8||Chris Waller||8=||54kg||54kg||91|
|10||408×066075||KAONIC (NZ)||G||5||Chris Waller||10=||54kg||54kg||90|
|11||5756721381||LOTA CREEK GOLD||G||5||Harold Norman||10=||54kg||54kg||90|
|12||251111×168||THE KINGDOM||G||4||Les Kelly||12||54kg||54kg||86|
|13||22215×9681||OCEAN ADDICT (NZ)||M||5||Toby & Trent Edmonds||13||54kg||54kg||77|
|14||669×810004||PIRATE BEN||G||8||Damien Lane||14||54kg||54kg||69|
|15||8971116×00||PARTNERSHIP (NZ)||G||4||Ethan Ensby||15||54kg||54kg||67|
|16||x864444323||CHILLY CHA CHA (NZ)||M||5||Kris Lees||16||54kg||54kg||65|
|17||0406232335||CHAMPAGNE VEGA||G||4||Bruce Hill||17=||54kg||54kg||60|
|18||x445416232||COMMANDER BELL||G||4||Brett Partelle||17=||54kg||54kg||60|
|19||x755650674||I’LL MISS YOU||M||8||Julie Pratten||17=||54kg||54kg||60|
|20||864×802468||WINKLER (NZ)||G||6||Ethan Ensby||17=||54kg||54kg||60|
|21||3×03212459||LADY GRANDE (NZ)||M||5||Ethan Ensby||21||54kg||54kg||54|
|22||8802234733||MISTER MAKER||G||7||Catherine Inwood||22||54kg||54kg||49|
*Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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