Defending Ramornie Handicap champion Howmuchdoyouloveme again appears to be the one to beat ahead of Wednesday’s $150,000 sprint at Grafton.
The Sydney gelding produced a powerful front-running display to win by four lengths last year and he again takes strong form into the country feature race.
One of 30 horses nominated for the 1200m dash, the four-year-old returned to form at Brisbane’s winter carnival after struggling twice at Group 1 level in Sydney earlier this year.
By Written Tycoon from Betula Belle, Howmuchdoyouloveme took out the Listed Lightning Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 8 before backing up two weeks later to win the Group 3 Healy Stakes.
The form is reminiscent of last year when he won consecutive Brisbane races on his way to Ramornie success.
One of the key horses he will have to overcome to secure back-to-back titles is fellow front-runner Adebisi who will ensure there is an enticing speed battle up front.
The Brisbane sprinter will be running first-up after an autumn campaign that featured wins in the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes and the Listed Razor Sharp Quality.
Set to return for a second crack at the Grafton sprint is last year’s third placegetter River Lad.
The Sunshine Coast-based gelding served it up to Howmuchdoyouloveme in the Healy Stakes, making him fight all the way to the line when finishing a close second.
A consistent black-type sprinter, River Lad has only missed a place once in his last six starts.
Port Macquarie-based mare Pentasia has been set for the race and showed her ability in stakes grade in May when winning the Listed Chief De Beer Quality at Eagle Farm.
Trainer Mac Quinn has Group 1 ambitions with the five-year-old who has won eight of 17 starts.
Other notable entrants for the Ramornie include Darley pair Skytrain and Soledad, last-start Rosehill winner Big Bonanza and veteran gelding The Jackal who took out the race in 2007 and 2008.