The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Seven-year-old Irish import Sixties Groove found himself back in the winner’s stall on Wednesday thanks to a brilliant ride from jockey Jason Collett in the Listed $200,000 Grafton Cup (2350m).
Despite being charged with 61kg, punters were still willing to back the old boy coming off a last-start second to stablemate Frankely Awesome in the Listed W J McKell Cup at Rosehill.
Last year’s Brisbane Cup winner struggled in his return to the races this prep finishing in the back half of the field in the Scone Cup, but he always looked a danger in Thursday’s Grafton Cup field with a pair of wins to his name over the distance.
The pace was set early on as Satono Rasen and La Pulga rolled forward, while Collett was left with plenty of work to do settling second-last seven lengths off the leaders.
As the pace quickened at the turn, Collett chose to make good use of the wide gate as the pair rolled over the top of the Chris Waller-trained The Lord Mayor to swoop in late at the line.
Sixties Groove was backed into $3.50 before the jump with another of Waller’s runners Carzoff the next best at $4.60 under big race specialist Glen Boss.
The win marked the first Grafton Cup for this season’s NSW Premiership leading trainer Lees, while Sixties Groove also broke a new weight record with no horse having previously won over 58.5kg.
“It was a big effort with the weight he was carrying and it hasn’t been done [in that race] for years,” Lees told the Newcastle Herald.
“It was a great ride. It was just that will to win, to get out in the clear and then charge to the line. I thought we were going to run a nice second or third, but he just put the head down.”
The Lord Mayor did well to stick on for second paying $2.80 a place, while Carzoff made up ground late for third to round out the 2020 Grafton Cup trifecta.
Sixties Groove now heads to the paddock for a well-deserved rest ahead of a potential spring return targeting the Group 3 $200,000 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 18 and or Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Epsom Day.
2020 Grafton Cup Results
|1||1||SIXTIES GROOVE (IRE)||Kris Lees||Jason Collett||12||61kg||$3.50F|
|2||5||THE LORD MAYOR (NZ)||Chris Waller||Lee Magorrian||0.22L||9||56kg||$9|
|3||2||CARZOFF (FR)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||1.16L||14||58kg||$4.60|
|4||10||NEMINGAH (NZ)||Edward O’Rourke||Ms Rachel King||1.9L||6||54kg||$31|
|5||12||COMMANDER BELL||Brett Partelle||Ms Mikayla Weir (a)||2.04L||2||54kg||$61|
|6||7||PRIMITIVO||John Thompson||Jean Van Overmeire (a)||2.29L||3||54kg||$7|
|7||6||LA PULGA||Michael Costa||Ben Looker||2.45L||11||54.5kg||$8|
|8||3||BIG DUKE (IRE)||Kris Lees||Andrew Gibbons||3.56L||5||57.5kg||$15|
|9||13||I’LL MISS YOU||Julie Pratten||Raymond Spokes||5.3L||7||54kg (cd 55kg)||$151|
|10||11||CHAMPAGNE VEGA||Bruce Hill||Matthew McGuren||6.86L||8||54kg (cd 55kg)||$31|
|11||16||KILMARNOCK||Lea Selby||Shane S Arnold||8.03L||1||54kg||$201|
|12||14||WINKLER (NZ)||Ethan Ensby||Kyle Wilson-Taylor (a)||8.42L||4||54kg||$151|
|13||9||PARTNERSHIP (NZ)||Ethan Ensby||Grant Buckley||10.52L||13||54kg||$101|
|14||15||MISTER MAKER||Catherine Inwood||Jon Grisedale||12.78L||10||54kg||$201|
|15||8||SATONO RASEN (JPN)||Chris Waller||Mitchell Bell||15.2L||15||54kg||$8|
|4||FRANKELY AWESOME||Kris Lees||Jason Collett||0|
*Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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