Mr O’Ceirin has been included in the 2014 Grafton Cup field, but will need plenty of luck to win the Listed event for the second year in a row on Thursday after drawing barrier 17.
Mr O’Ceirin lugged 56 kilograms to victory from barrier 16 in the 2013 edition of the Grafton Cup, but will face an even tougher assignment in this year’s race, with the tough gelding allocated the equal top-weight of 59 kilograms by Racing New South Wales handicappers.
The Postponed gelding has raced consistently during his winter campaign, highlighted by second place finishes in both the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 3 and the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) on May 31, but finished a disappointing ninth after starting as a clear favourite in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on June 28.
Gai Waterhouse-trained Travolta will also carry the top-weight of 59 kilograms and will be chasing his first race win since he took out the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on January 25.
Travolta (barrier 13) returned to the races in the Listed Mercedes Benz Centernary Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 21 and finished a credible seventh before taking part in an exhibition gallop alongside 2014 Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Waterhouse will have two representatives in the Grafton Cup; with talented mare Queenstown (barrier seven) stepping up in trip after performing well in both the Octagonal Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on May 31 and the Mercedes Benz Centenary Mile .
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller also has multiple runners in the Grafton Cup field; with Permit, Seccesio, Hoylonny and Mulaqen set to contest the Listed event on Thursday.
Secessio (barrier nine), Hoylonny (barrier five), Mulaqen (barrier 19) and Permit (barrier 18) filled the first four in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on June 8 and Waller will be hoping for a similar result in the Grafton Cup.
Another stayer taking strong form into the Grafton Cup is veteran stayer Brave Ali, who will be partnered by Tegan Harrison when he jumps from barrier four.
Brave Ali has been a revelation since joining the stable of Tony Gollan in April and he scored three straight wins in Brisbane before finishing third in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 10 and winning the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on June 14.
The O’Reilly gelding produced a brave staying performance when he finished second behind Brayroan in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) and he will be the likely leader in the early stages of the Grafton Cup.
One of the most interesting stayers in the Grafton Cup field is Ironstein, who is expected to be retired after contesting the Listed event.
Ironstein finished third behind Twin Wing and Frozone in the 2010 edition of the Grafton Cup and has not scored a race win since he took out the 2011 edition of the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), but he has performed well this preparation; finishing fourth in the Ipswich Cup and fifth in the Caloundra Cup.
Another key runners in the 2014 Grafton Cup field include Pretty Pins (barrier 12), Grey Assignment (barrier 10), Wazn (barrier one), Noisy Ocean (barrier eight) and Garud (barrier 11).