Three-year-old Calanda has justified his outright favouritism with an impressive performance for success in the Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton this afternoon.
The Snitzel gelding continued to herald plenty of interest in Ramornie Handicap betting markets in the hours leading up to jump this afternoon and did his chances of justifying the trend no harm when he found a good position in transit within the talent-rich fields of sprinters.
Topweight The Monstar led the Ramornie field across the back straight and towards the bend alongside the likes of Lucky Tom and Red Bowers and ensured that the race would be contested at a genuine tempo.
Calanda appeared to be blocked for a run with nowhere to go when the field began to straighten, however jockey Jim Byrne made use of a gap between runners and was greeted with a big turn of foot as the colt strode into the race with 300m to travel.
Pulling clear, Calanda weathered a kick from a brave The Monstar on pace, but was simply too good for his rivals and under the conditions of the Ramornie Handicap. Stable mate Flippant ran on well to finish third.
Co-trainer Paul Snowden was on hand for Calanda’s impressive win in the Ramornie Handicap and revealed that he will now be sent for a spell, with a view towards Spring Carnival sprints.
“It’s a big thrill, he’s a talented horse,” Snowden said.
“The races in Brisbane just didn’t go right for him – he probably got strung up at the wrong time, but was realty well within himself.
“We stayed on the inside part of the track today where everyone has been trying to get off it and he’s got the job done. He’s beaten a handy field here today, which is pleasing.
“We’ll take him home and give him a break and we might see something early in the spring for him. We might have him up and running early because he’s in such good order.”
Byrne delivered a typically brilliant ride aboard Calanda to be crowned the Ramornie Handicap winner, but was quick to lay all the praise on his talented mount.
“He’s obviously lightly-raced and he probably showed last time that he needs a bit of clear running to really perform, but everything opened up today on the inside,” Byrne said after dismounting.
“I didn’t actually want to be hard up on the fence, but he drifted away a bit from the winning post and it was a good, strong effort.
“I was always happy in the run – it was a good, strong tempo.”
In being crowned the Ramornie Handicap winner, Calanda added a fifth win to his record, which has spanned only eleven starts.