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Headlines Today is 23/10/2014
GRAFTON CUP A GOOD RACE TO AVOID BETTING IN - AND THERE WILL BE TOUCHING SCENES IN THE MOUNTING YARD AT CUP TIME TODAY [ More Items ]  
If you thought you weren't ageing - then try this one. Ron Maund, pictured in this exclusive race day photo by the Justracing camera, some years ago, with his bubbly daughter Chelsea, trained What's Brewing to win the Grafton Cup in 1970 - that's 44 years ago today. How time flies when you're having fun. There's a message in that for all of us "make every day count as we are all running out of time".
10/07/14

Last year’s Grafton Cup produced a close finish when that 4/1 enigma from the Ciaron Maher stable that races under the name of Mr O’Ceirin, beat the Peter Snowden trained Yulalona at 30/1 by a half neck, with the Gai Waterhouse trained Reuben Percival clocking in third, a further neck away at 11/2. Unfortunately for punters nationwide, Mr O’Ceirin campaigned in Brisbane during the 2014 Winter Carnival. His Brisbane campaign finished when he went like a mule in the Caloundra Cup on 28 June, stopping like he’d been hit over the head with a mallet around about the home turn. Praise the Lord that the wet tracker isn’t popping in to contest the Grafton Cup on the way back to Victoria or the money muncher would take more money from punters - as his little footsies would hurt on the good track.

One year earlier in 2012, another enigma, this time Shamadashing from the Patinack stable got home first and this year Patinack trainer John Thompson is represented by Pretty Pins. The victory by Shamadashing followed on from the Gold Coast trained Warrior Within getting home first for trainer Bruce Hill and his son-in-law Paul Hammersley in July of 2011. Paul married Bruce’s daughter Rebecca and Bec used to write articles for Justracing once upon a time before her marriage, which all proves conclusively that if you just keep reading this website we’ll all learn together. As an aside, Bruce Hill and Paul Hammersley had to be content with third yesterday in the Grafton Guineas with $4.60 second favourite - Bodega Negra. Ironically Bruce Hill’s apprentice, Tegan Harrison, won the 2014 Grafton Guineas aboard Royal Scribe at 8/1 for another Gold Coast trainer – David Kelly.

Memories of the late Warwick Farm based Guy Walter will be revived today on Grafton Cup day, as he trained 10/1 chance Twin Wing back in 2010 to beat the Alan Bailey, Gold Coast trained Frozone (5/1) by a short head, with the $2.90 favourite Ironstein clocking in third. Thankfully Ironstein retires after today’s Grafton Cup – so praise the Lord for that momentous event happening. If there was a Punters Association in Australia we could throw a party. I just can’t work out why it took them so long to think about retirement. Ironstein should make a great equestrian horse for some snotty-nosed feral kid around Australia, as if a “feral kid” should fall off the horse at any point from this day forth, he or she shouldn’t hurt themselves as put simply Ironstein doesn’t go fast enough. Ironstein hasn’t won since 5/11/11 – that’s 32 months (in words that’s thirty two) - or in his last 29 (in words that’s twenty nine) starts, so even his own barefoot and pregnant mother and retirement village imprisoned Nana have both given up on him. Punters on course at Grafton will hopefully pull the grandstand down there if he happens to win today.

Back to the score at the Test and interestingly Guy Walter's Twin Wing, starting at 13/2 and ridden by Robert Thompson, had run third - beaten a wart and a wart - in the Grafton Cup 12 months earlier when the Donna Logan trained Kiwi raider Castle Heights, ridden by the late Stathi Katsidis at $10 defeated the Brian Smith trained Hume ($4 for Scott Galloway) by a nose. Brian Smith won the Year 2000 Grafton Cup with Simigan and he accepted with Grey Assignment for the 2014 Grafton Cup, but the horse has been scratched. You can start a rumour as to why he’s been scratched. I’ll go with “the track is too hard,” but you might go with “He’s having a second honeymoon with the most recent bride - paid for by Kingdoms”.

The most interesting Grafton Cup ever run was possibly the 1994 version, as the three horses that ran the trifecta in that year’s Grafton Cup, in order, Oppressor, Major Decision and Oompala all raced in the Melbourne Cup later that same year, with Oppressor running twelfth, Major Decision thirteenth, whilst Oompala, for then and still current Gold Coast trainer, Johnny Wallace, clocked in third on the first Tuesday in November to the talented duo of Jeune and Paris Lane - in overall time of 3.19.80.

It's history now that evergreen jockey Robert Thompson, aged in his late 50's, won the Ramornie Handicap yesterday on the short priced $2.20 favourite Big Money for Scone based trained Rod Northam, but Robert won't be able to complete the double this year - as he doesn’t have a ride in this year’s Grafton Cup. However the race undoubtedly holds special memories for Robert Thompson, as 33 years ago today he would have got the thrill of a lifetime when he won the 1981 Grafton Cup on My Star Sapphire, which was trained by his father Arthur.

There’s no shadow of a doubt though that the most famous winner of a Grafton Cup is Kensei. He won the Grafton Cup in 1987 for trainer Les Bridge and jockey Larry Olsen, then later that same year he won the Melbourne Cup defeating the giant New Zealand mare Empire Rose, who went on to win the 1988 version of the Melbourne Cup, even though she was asked to carry 3.5 kilos more. Les Bridge has been having good success with his recent acquisition, Avoid Lightning, and the mare went down narrowly in a three way photo, finishing third in the Group 1 female race that is traditionally the last Group 1 race of the Australia racing season - Tatts Tiara - at Eagle Farm on 21 June. For his part Larry Olsen is a respected and long term employee of Sky Channel and does work on race days for that organization from the mounting yard around South-East Queensland tracks.

Here is a list of the winners of the Grafton Cup from 1970 inclusive to 2013 inclusive:

2014

??

??

2013

MR O’CEIRIN

56

2012

SHAMARDASHING

57.5

2011

WARRIOR WITHIN

53

2010

TWIN WING

57.5

2009

CASTLE HEIGHTS

53

2008

ART SUCCESS

54

2007

ASHRAF

53

2006

ROCKING ON

53

2005

STORMHILL

52

2004

PACIFIC DANCER

53.5

2003

BELUS

54

2002

MASTER POM

53

2001

DESK TOP LOVER

53

2000

SIMIGAN

52.5

1999

COUNT SCENARIO

53

1998

CATAPULT

53

1997

AKWAZOFF

55

1996

PRAISE INDEED

54.5

1995

OPPRESSOR

59

1994

OPPRESSOR

55

1993

ABSTRACTION

51.5

1992

CROSS SWORDS

54.5

1991

RURAL PRINCE

50.5

1990

STIRRING

53

1989

SHUZOHRA

54

1988

SASHA BIJOU

55

1987

KENSEI

56.5

1986

LES’ CHOICE

56

1985

RUSHCUTTER

56.5

1984

RIVERDALE

53.5

1983

WARD’S MISTAKE

53

1982

OSMIRIDIUM

54.5

1981

MY STAR SAPPHIRE

52

1980

UNDER ORDERS

52

1979

FRENCH COMMAND

49

1978

ZAMAZAAN LASS

50.5

1977

SWEET AROMA

47.5

1976

ONTONIO

47.5

1975

WAVE KING

55

1974

JARDEL

54

1973

JARDEL

49.5

1972

BIG BUTCH

56

1971

BARRYLYN’S IDOL

51.5

1970

WHAT’S BREWING

54.5

The Grafton Cup field this year is simply a "no-go zone" from a punting perspective. Let me explain why. The only good horse in the field is arguably the topweight Travolta. I know that and the handicapper knows that. But his problem is that he's had just one run back from a spell at 1600 metres and today races over 2350 metres, meaning he's jumping 750 metres in distance from his first-up run, which makes it nigh on impossible to win. The same fate besets the stablemate of Travolta - Queenstown - and she's the favourite. She's so classy that she's never won a black type race in her life and has to step up 750 metres also, from one run to the next, as she went around in the same race Travolta did at Eagle Farm 19 days ago which Kingdoms won. Wonder will Gai's husband and son bookmakers want to lay the pair over the gap because of the 750 metres basis? Then Chris Waller is unfortunately taking a couple of his non-achievers to Grafton, namely Secessio and Hoylonny. Thankfully Permit was obviously too slow to wake up and missed the horse float - ditto stablemate Mulaqen. For his part, Secessio has won two races in the last 12 months, one of those was by a wart, so I suppose to be fair he's at least won a race or two in the last 52 weeks, so that's a plus. As for Hoylonny, that camel has won just one race in the last 28 months. Sadly some males have lost their family and are homeless and living in parks because of that horse. Security will be on "sniper watch" no doubt today as Hoylonny proudly walks onto the Grafton course proper. And Justracing is yet again exclusively the only media outlet on top of this scoop. There will no doubt be touching scenes in the Grafton mounting yard today if the Sky Channel camera people are on top of it, as Wazn will get the chance to be reunited with his old stablemates Secessio and Hoylonny. All three have been underachievers at the one time for Chris Waller and will be able to share memories, but Wazn's been a little beauty. He's scored just once in the last 28 months and that was in a photo finish. He went around - albeit very slowly - in the Queensland Cup last Saturday at Eagle Farm and got beaten officially just over 24 lengths (so there's no confusion, in words that's twenty four) and just for practise he goes around again today. Our thoughts are with him at this difficult time. Rumour has it that the little treasure only woke up late yesterday afternoon from the Queensland Cup run after a bucket of ice was thrown over him. He probably thinks the horse float was taking him to spell. No such luck Buster - you were wrong again.

The Grafton Cup field, which this year features an abnormal number of scratchings, will jump at 3.53pm this afternoon if everything is going to plan.

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the second montage of photos from Eagle Farm last Saturday plus others of interest. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there’s a couple of harness racing stories, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Victorian racing is perused.

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