The 2017 Grafton Cup Form Guide is essential reading for racing fans and punters ahead of the feature race in country New South Wales on Thursday afternoon.
Fifteen stayers have been confirmed in the 2017 Grafton Cup field and we have analysed each horse in detail, in order to help you find the Grafton Cup winner.
Supply And Demand is set to start a clear race favourite following his heroics in the Caloundra Cup, but he is sure to face plenty of resistance from the likes of Benzini, More Energy and Montauk.
Kiwi raider Benzini has produced a number of strong performances this time and is a live chance of winning the Grafton Cup on Thursday. Arriving in Australia for consecutive fourth-place finishes in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m) and Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2200m), the Tale Of The Cat gelding ran on for second in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m), but could only manage a mid-pack finish in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) on July 1st. While charged with overcoming a race-high 59kgs, Benzini’s class is sure to count for a lot and he is over the odds at his current quote.
Supply And Demand
Supply And Demand has found terrific form this time in and is undoubtedly the horse to beat in the Grafton Cup. Fifth in the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) on May 12th, the Sebring gelding progressed to second in the M Taylor Outreach Program BM85 (1600m) and has since won each of his three most-recent starts with ease, including the Caloundra Cup by close to two lengths last time out. The horse will have to overcome the outside barrier, but will be partnered by regular hoop Josh Parr and should be right in the finish of the Grafton Cup.
Four-year-old Montauk has been a strong and consistent performer this time and is in the right form to post a maiden black type win in the 2017 Grafton Cup. The More Than Ready gelding ran fifth in the JB Cummings Hall Of Fame Trophy (2000m) on May 20th and progressed to fourth in the talent-rich Eremein Handicap (1800m), before placing third in the Kensei Handicap (2000m) and second in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) most recently. Montauk is another horse that has been charged with overcoming a wide draw, but is weighted for success and will be partnered by in-form hoop Corey Brown.
Veteran Feltte has steadily built to the task this time and is rock-hard fit ahead of his run in the Grafton Cup 2017. Posting a career total of seven wins and nine minors through thirty-five starts, the Show A Heart gelding finished towards the tail of the field in the Premier’s Cup and finished ninth in the Ipswich Cup, but worked to the line well to finish fifth in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) on June 24th. He would need to muster a career-best performance to win the Grafton Cup.
Country horse Morendi has been largely outclassed in his black type starts this time and probably faces too great a task in overcoming this Grafton Cup field. Morendi has been in work for a long time and will contest his thirteenth start this time, when he takes his position in the Grafton Cup field on Thursday. His recent appearances have heralded fourteenth (of fourteen) in the Brisbane Cup and sixth (of seven) in the Tattersall’s Cup.
Consistent mare War Baby has been right in the finish of several notable staying races recently and is not without a chance of being crowned the Grafton Cup winner. Storming home to win the Ipswich Provincial Stayers Cup (2150m) by seven lengths on June 17th, the Warhead mare ran third in the Tattersall’s Cup and backed up for third in the Caloundra Cup just over a week ago. Larry Cassidy retains the ride on War Baby, who should find a good position behind the pace from her barrier and is weighted ideally at only 54kgs.
Anton En Avant
Anton En Avant is another horse who hasn’t been able to match it with the better horses in his races this time and probably cannot win the 2017 Grafton Cup. Sixth in the Haymans Handicap (1400m) first-up on June 7th, the Dubawi gelding has since placed fifth in the Giddy Up Club BM85 (1660m) and eighth in the South Grafton Cup (1610m) on Sunday. A step up in distance will suit and he will be partnered by in-form hoop Jim Byrne.
Danjeu is yet to find his best form this time in, but he is bred to relish the conditions of the Grafton Cup and is not without a chance, at long odds. The Montjeu gelding finished seventh in the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) and fifth in the Listed McKell Cup (2400m) on May 27th, but failed to handle the heavy conditions when seventh in the Ron Finemore Transport BM85 (2400m) at Randwick on June 24th. Danjeu will look to cross the field from his wide draw, but will be partnered by Blake Spriggs, who is a good judge of pace.
More Energy has produced several strong performances of late and is set to peak when he takes his place in the 2017 Grafton Cup field. The son of Fastnet Rock hit the line well to finish third in the JB Cummings Hall Of Fame Trophy and after weathering a tough run on pace to finish sixth in the South Juniors BM80 (2000m) on June 10th, responded with a smart performance for second in the Tattersall’s Cup last time out. Drawn ideally with Jeff Lloyd in the saddle, More Energy should prove tough to beat under the Grafton Cup conditions.
Get On The Grange
Get On The Grange has been a strong and consistent performer this time, albeit at a lesser grade that this Grafton Cup field and he faces a notable step up in class on Thursday. The Home On The Grange gelding placed fifth in the Souths Juniors BM80 and fourth in the Ron Finemore Transport BM85, before arriving in Brisbane for a smart win in the BOQ Victoria Point BM80 (2040m) last weekend. Get On The Grange is drawn ideally and should be a picture of fitness on Thursday.
First Crush flew home to win the Grafton Cup Prelude (2215m) last week and is another horse that is not without a chance of winning the feature race, at healthy odds. First Crush ran on well to finish sixth in a Caloundra minor over 1800m on April 9th; progressing to third in the Saltram Plate (1400m) on the Gold Coast and second in the Brightwater Hotel BM75 (1800m) on June 18th, in what was his only other start to the Grafton Cup Prelude. First Crush could receive the run of the race from barrier 5 and will be partnered by leading country hoop Robert Thompson.
Allzin went amiss at his last start, but he has mustered several smart performances this time and has the ability to claim a first five result in the 2017 Grafton Cup. Third in a Highway Handicap over 1800m at Randwick first-up, the Al Maher gelding strung together three-consecutive race wins leading into his flop in the Ipswich Provincial Stayers Final. Jockey Peter Graham will likely look to take up the running from the rails draw.
Meteorologist’s form appears to have tailed off recently and it would take a big spike in condition for him to win the Grafton Cup. Eleventh in the Ipswich Cup, the Northern Meteor gelding has since failed to run on in either of the John Walder Memorial BM70 (2400m) or the Grafton Cup Prelude. Luke Rolls will take the ride from barrier 11.
Kilmarnock is another horse that faces a big step up in class into the Grafton Cup field, but he ran on extremely well to finish second in the Grafton Cup Prelude last week and is capable of a big run on Thursday, should he receive the appropriate luck. The Husson gelding finished sixth in a Grafton minor over 2208m on May 19th, before tailing off to finish ninth at Muswellbrook on June 18th.
Stradazzle is the final horse confirmed in the 2017 Grafton Cup field and is also the rank outsider in betting markets for the feature race. The Strada gelding has made three appearances since returning from a freshen-up and was last seen running on for third in the S&K Wilson Plumbing BM55 (2120m) at Goulburn last week.