Bindi Cheers’ Taree-based youngster Zar Zar Binks has shot to the top of the ballot for next Thursday’s $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) following their narrow win in this week’s Prelude.
A progressive Zariz three-year-old, Zar Zar Binks secured their start in the Clarence River Jockey’s Club’s marquee event with a long neck win over Retune in the Grafton Cup Prelude (2120m) on Wednesday.
Cheers was quick to credit the ride of jockey Matt Paget who has promised to name his soon-to-be born third daughter after Cheers should they go onto win the Grafton Cup.
“I reckon they should call the baby Zar Zar Binks,” Cheers said on Wednesday after the Prelude win.
“He (Zar Zar Binks) does all the work and he seems to be a really tough little horse.
“We had a bit of luck today, he only just got there.”
It certainly was a thrilling finish with Zar Zar Binks diving on the line to win after having travelled on the rail throughout before struggling on the home turn to get a clear run.
“He’s a horse that likes to get out and get going so it was a good win to do what he did,” Cheers said.
Paget agreed that it was a testing effort in the Prelude and is looking forward to backing up next week.
“I would have liked a bit more speed in the race because I got caught back in traffic with some average horses around me,” Paget said.
“I wanted to be with Retune and I was able to come out underneath it and the horse did the rest.
“It was a tough win, bring on the Grafton Cup.”
It was the gelding’s second win on the trot too following a very impressive four and a half length effort in the Murwillumbah Cup (2020m) in the wet on June 23.
For Cheers it is now all systems go for a shot at the big one on July 11 with Zar Zar Binks ready to step up to black type company for the first time.
“We’ll see how he pulls up but he’s in the Grafton Cup now and should get a light weight,” she said.
Despite being only a rising four-year-old the galloper has done plenty of racing with the Grafton Cup to be their 36th start.
For the Prelude the experienced young gun carried a big 58kg weight to victory, the runner-up with just 54kg on their back.
They will then relish the drop back to the 54kg minimum should they accept for the Grafton Cup where weights are topped by the Peter Moody-trained Caloundra Cup runner-up Voila Ici (59kg).
Other notable nominees and their weights then include Caloundra Cup winner Zennista (57kg), Joe Pride’s Winter Cup victor from Monday Destiny’s Kiss (56kg) and Peal Of Bells (54kg).
A seven length winner of the Stayers Cup over the two miles (3200m) at Randwick two back, Gwenda Markwell’s Kembla Grange-based Peal Of Bells failed badly when beaten over 23 lengths in the Winter Cup.
They were originally accepted to go back up to the 3200m for Saturday’s Queensland Cup in Brisbane but have been scratched from the race.
To prove their fitness and be cleared for a Grafton Cup run they must pass a veterinary check by Racing NSW stewards next Tuesday after they gallop between races at their home track.