Consistent stayer First Crush will get a second chance on Thursday to win the Listed $160,000 G McMullan Contracting Grafton Cup (2350m) at Grafton.
First Crush was comprehensively beaten in last year’s Grafton Cup when ninth to Supply And Demand but trainer Chris Munce said that the six year old is better prepared this year.
The Husson gelding won the $25,000 Grafton Cup Prelude (2215m) at Grafton a week before the 2017 Grafton Cup but this year First Crush is coming off a twelve day break after finishing second to Megablast in the Listed $175,000 Scott McMahon Electrical Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on June 30.
“He did get a little bit of a bump last year but really I don’t think he handled backing up in a week from the Prelude,” Munce told AAP.
“First Crush has had a fortnight to get over his run in the Caloundra Cup and he deserves to win one of these staying races this winter.”
First Crush has put two good runs together and prior to be being the runner up in the Caloundra Cup was a nose second to Tradesman in the Listed $175,000 Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m) at Ipswich two weeks earlier.
Munce was debating whether he would run First Crush at the Sunshine Coast again this weekend in the Group 3 $150,000 The Queen’s Cup (3200m) or give the Grafton Cup another attempt.
“In the end he has only 54.5 kg in the Grafton Cup and I know he can handle the track. He races like he wants 3200 metres but in the end I think there are more pluses for Grafton,” Munce said.
First Crush has drawn barrier nine in the original draw of sixteen plus four emergencies and will be ridden again by Mark Du Plessis who was aboard in the Caloundra Cup.
Early betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has First Crush marked as the $3.90 favourite for the Grafton Cup ahead of the Toowoomba trained Jumbo Prince at $5.50, last start Canterbury winner Reneged at $6 and the Gold Coast trained Anton En Avant at $6.50.