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By Darren Winningham | Wednesday, July 10, 2019


The track has been affected by the rain and has been posted as a SOFT for the meeting – the weather is looking great so maybe it will improve.

The rail is in the true position for the entire course.
Wednesday’s action was highlighted by Havasay, trained by Toby Edmonds via the Liam Birchley stables, who won the Ramornie for the second year in a row.! He is only the fifth horse to achieve this in the history of the race. Now will he defend his title in 2020? If he can win again he will be only the second horse since Cuban Song (1933 to 1936 winner) to win three Ramornies.

In a dramatic finish where everyone thought that the Brett Cavanough runner Star Boy, who was sensationally backed across the da, had a winning break, Havasay stormed down the outside to win in a dramatic photo taking his record at Grafton to three wins from three runs.

I have to send out massive congratulations to jockey Jimmy Orman finally getting down on one knee and proposing to his wonderful beaming and glamorous girlfriend - well fiancé now - Heidi Whalley. The deed was done in the USA whilst they were on holidays.

Rumour has it he didn’t want the paparazzi (WINNO) with his long lens spying on the occasion and getting an EXCLUSIVE! These two are a wonderful couple and I am certain that all HRO readers wish them best for their future! Some final words for Jimmy … congratulations for finally getting the right to officially love and annoy your partner for the rest of your life!

There are 8 races on Cup Day to be decided. Let’s go …

NB: As this form assessment was made prior to race-day, please check final fields and track conditions for any changes on the day


Race 1

Typhoon Bonny (7) is trained by Neil Godbolt at Port Macquarie and has been racing in great form. The barrier is a drama from 14 – Tegan Harrison will have to be at her best to get this mare sitting just off the speed and not caught wide in the running,

San Sierra (3) is a Scott Cumming runner who will be ridden by Matt McGuren. This gelding stepped up to 1200 metres last start and did not disgrace himself. However, I think he is best over this shorter distance of 1000 metres and he will be strong at the finish – he has solid form on wet tracks as well.

Star of Harada (6) is trained by Terry McCarthy and he has been racing at the Gold Coast in his past few starts. His form at the Grafton track is solid – drawn well, wet track form and jockey Jay Ford aboard there is a case to be made for this runner.

Nosey (4) named after my boss Graham Potter is trained by Les Tilley. He has been racing consistently and should fill the place – I bet this gets edited by the boss!

Selections: 7-3-6-4


Race 2

True Quality (4) trained by Matthew Dunn at Murwillumbah looks well placed here. She resumed at her home track back on June 2 and she was solid first up. I just thought that she needed some room to gallop and get started – she didn’t get that opportunity on that occasion. Since then she won a trial in good fashion with Jim Byrne aboard. He comes to Grafton to partner her in this run – he is a “quality” jockey. He will give her every possible chance.

The obvious danger is the Brett Dodson trained Hellenism (6) who has been wonderful in both of her career starts. Last start she won her maiden at Coffs Harbour with Matthew Bennett in the saddle – the smiling RANGA! He stays aboard for this run. He has a habit of getting the best out of his horses here at Grafton – she is a definite threat despite the step up in grade.

Flying Prince (16) is one at odds – an emergency that should get a run here. He was storming home on Day 1 over 1206 metres. I think with the step up to 1400 metres and Peter Graham aboard he is the one that could be a bookies result in this race and knock off these more favoured runners. His price is $31 presently – I will be having something each way on him!

Selections: 4-6-16-14 rough chance 14


Race 3

The Mother’s Gift – a race named after a wonderful horse trained locally by John Shelton who was etched into history when she won the 2000 Ramornie! She won in sensational fashion and was a despised outsider in the race at $33. I remember the race well as I had something on her!

Snapchat Girl (4) is trained on the Gold Coast by Les Kelly and Anthony Allen rides her here. She was defeated last start at the Gold Coast by the Stephen Lee trained Sornja (5) who was ridden to perfection by Jake Bayliss. There is not much between them here again at this meeting – but I think that maybe the result can be reversed.

Bedtime Stories (6) is trained by Allan Kehoe and is on a quick seven day back up after an average effort last start at Canterbury. She likes to lead and set the tempo in front. If the race is run to suit we could see her perform well here. She may not get it all her own way in front though – that may bring her unstuck in this race.

Cash Spinner (1), despite the large weight, could be a genuine rough chance to win at around $21. She raced well in the recent Wauchope Cup at Port Macquarie when she got back and made some ground late to be beaten just over 1 length on a day where the leaders were favoured. She is a great rough chance as, with the speed in the race, I can see Brooke Stower bringing her down the crest of this Grafton track late – maybe to blow the favourites out!

Selections: 4-5-6-1 rough chance 7


Race 4

This is the traditional 2-year-old race of the Carnival – the NBN Springboard to Fame.

Matt Dunn has a solid representation here with his two runners – Cinco Star (3) and Karaja (10).

Karaja (10) is coming off some solid efforts in Queensland and is looking for her second career win – she is the early favourite and is the form horse of the race.

Cinco Star (3) won her debut at Lismore back in February and has trialled well in recent weeks. He looks forward enough to show a presence in the race.

Eiger (4) is trained by Brett Cavanough. He made his debut at Dubbo and won in fine fashion. He steps up in grade – has the rails and Jason Collett in the saddle. There is a lot to like about this runner. The other thing that has drawn my attention here is that the time he ran was pretty good. Now that he has seen the winner’s stalls sometimes, they can go on with it. The stable normally successfully target races each year here. I think he is an outstanding chance to win this feature race.

Centrefire (8) is from the Munce Racing team in Brisbane. She won her maiden midweek at Doomben two weeks ago. She led them up on that occasion and was very dominant.

Billy Healey trains Underwood (12) who is looking for a hat trick of wins. She has been racing in solid form and has raced handy on each occasion. She is a genuine each way chance. It would be wonderful to see Billy score a feature race over the Carnival – good luck mate!

Selections: 4-10-8-12 rough chance 3


Race 5

This is the BIG MAIDEN that is on the program each year – a race which is always keenly contested.

Global Choice (11) from the Brisbane stables on Munce Racing has been in great form leading into this race. Last start she was beaten at Eagle Farm by Withering who performed well on Ramornie day. Sean Cormack is in the saddle and, from barrier 4, I expect him to push forward and take up a forward position in the running. I think the drop-in distance from 1400 metres to the 1200 metres assists the filly’s chance in cracking her maiden status at Grafton!

Designated (4) from the Kristen Buchanan stables has shown some recent form at Kembla Grand on wet grounds. He is only a two-year-old taking on the older horses and I am not too sure whether that will inhibit a win – on his form he must be considered.

Beyond Desire (7) is trained by Matthew Dunn and will be ridden by Jim Byrne. She was first up at Doomben over 1110 metres and settled out of her ground before finishing the race off late. On that run she is a serious contender for this race – the 1200 metres looks like it will suit her down to the ground.

Another Sheila (9) is trained by Wayne Oakenfull and is a nice filly. She raced very well last start at Tamworth in a strong maiden and finished second – local jockey Ben Looker stays aboard here.

Purple Trumpet (17) is an emergency from the Les Kelly yards at Gold Coast and with some luck may make the field. She is only a two-year-old as well – her debut over 900 metres at the Gold Coast was a solid effort. I think 1200 metres will suit her – she just needs to make the field!

Selections: 11-4-7-9 rough chance 17


Race 6

I like the local horse Carry on Ringo (11) who ran a wonderful race in the John Carlton Cup when she settled back and come home late. I think from a better barrier draw and ridden a fraction closer by Tegan Harrison she could show up at some massive odds.

Rafha’s Choice (6) comes of a small break and a solid barrier trial three weeks ago. He probably will be racing on the speed and should be well placed here. There has been some good support in the markets as well for this one. Graeme Murray scored the last winner on Ramornie Day with Miss Scorcher.

Toby Edmonds has Dream Master (5) resuming here with Ryan Maloney aboard. There has been support since the markets are opened with him firming from $3.60 to $2.40. He has drawn a little wide but again should be up on the speed and will take a stack of beating.

Tawfiq Boy (3) from Kris Lees Racing resumes here and has had two barrier trials. He hasn’t won first up before but always runs a place. Jason Collett who rode a double on Ramornie day takes the ride.

Selections: 11-6-5-



The race has drawn a great field this year.

With the track improving I like the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace trained Sopressa (3) who was defeated on the heavy track at Sunshine Coast last start by Igraine (1). Matthew McGillivray rides him and is looking for the Grafton 2019 feature race double. Iam not too certain if this has been done before, but it would be a great result for him as he has been riding in wonderful form in recent weeks.

The Chris Waller Racing team has two runners – Exoteric (2) and Vaucluse Bay (5). I think that Vaucluse Bay (5) is the better chance of the pair. Jason Collett is riding him in the feature race. Vaucluse Bay (5) has had a small let up and resumed in the GH Mumm over 1820 metres at Eagle Farm. That distance is short of his best; however, I was impressed the way he sprinted at the end of the race. Since then he has had a barrier trial and I really think that, given the speed in the race and his recent form, he can win this race.

Igaine (1) comes off a demolition job in the Caloundra Cup on a heavy track. This will be her last career run as she is booked to go to stud after this race. Robbie Fradd is aboard here this week and will be looking to claim his maiden Grafton Cup victory. She has been a wonderful mare for connections and New Zealand trainer Robert Priscott, however now the track has improved she may struggle as she thrives on wet and bog conditions.

Sacred Day (9) is another kiwi runner. He is rained by Tony Pike. He has been unlucky in his Queensland runs, however, he finally broke through last start at Doomben over 2240 metres. He may just go on with it.

The winner of the Grafton Cup prelude was Happy Go Plucky (6) for John Gilmore. He was well backed to win that race and carried a massive 61 kilograms. He drops to the minimum here and has a good staying rider on top – Jim Byrne. He will be looking to win his first Grafton Cup on this runner.

Selections: 3-5-6-1 rough chances 2 & 9


Race 8 – 2019 THE KIRBY

The last race of the two-day main feature of the Carnival is always the KIRBY sprint.

Toby Edmonds has Impregnable (2) resuming at a track that he loves. He has raced here three times for three wins. He has had three barrier trials in the lead up to resuming here in this feature sprint. Ryan Maloney is in the saddle.

Boom Chicka Boom (6) looks the likely leader from barrier 4. This gelding races well over these shorter distance but can be suspect in the final 50 metres of the race. He was gallant in defeat last start at Eagle Farm when he carried a massive 60.5 kilograms. He drops in weight and maybe this will assist him in getting first past the post for trainer Les Kelly on the Gold Coast.

Sue Grills trains Attila (11) who won very well last start in good time. This gelding will appreciate the speed in the race and will probably position up in midfield in this sprint and fly home late – a nice ride for Jason Collett.

The Graeme Murray trained Flash Fibian (3) is hard to line up here as he has been racing well over 1200 metres. He is looking to claim a hat trick of wins and has had a month off and been freshened.

Selections: 2-6-11-3 rough chance 12


Jockey’s Challenge

Jim Byrne (QLD) and Jason Collett (NSW) have some nice rides. I think it will be a DRAW.

Early Quaddie (races 1 to 4 NSW only)

3,6,7 / 4,6,16 / 1,4,5,6 / 4,8,10,12 - cost is $144 to $1

Value Early Quaddie (races 1 to 4 NSW only)

3,7 / 4,6 / 4,5 / 4,10 - cost is $16 to $1

Quaddie (races 5 to 8)

4,7,9,11 / 5,6,11 / 1,3,5,6 / 2,3,6,11 - cost is $192 to $1

Value Quaddie (races 5 to 8)

4,11 / 5,6,11 / 3,5,6 / 2,6,11 - cost is $54 to $1

Treble (races 6 to 8)

5,6,11 / 1,3,5,6 / 2,3,6,11 - cost is $48 to $1

BIG 6 (NSW only races 3 to 8)

2,4,5 / 4,8,10,12 / 4,11 / 5,6,11 /3,5,6 / 2,6,11 - cost is $648 to $1


The Carnival features the WINNO v COLLINS tipping competition. Day 3 of the Carnival … I won again. The score is WINNO 2 …. COLLINS 0. Be sure to check out our updated tips and thoughts on Facebook each morning of the Carnival as we amend or alter the tips according to the updated scratchings and track conditions!

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Matt McGillivray shows his delight after winning the Ramornie for the second year in a row, completing the double aboard Havasay. Can he go on Cup glory?
Matt McGillivray shows his delight after winning the Ramornie for the second year in a row, completing the double aboard Havasay. Can he go on Cup glory?
Tony Newing is rolling out the winners at this year's Grafton Carnival, including Charmed Success (pictured above) who took out the Grafton Guineas

Racing photos: Darren Winningham
Tony Newing is rolling out the winners at this year's Grafton Carnival, including Charmed Success (pictured above) who took out the Grafton Guineas

Racing photos: Darren Winningham
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