The rails barrier draw is the secret factor that will help Reigning see out the distance of the Listed $150,000 Blanchard Haulage Grafton Cup (2350m) at Grafton today.
Jockey Glyn Schofield considers Reigning a little suspect of running out a strong 2350m with his best efforts beyond 2000m being a third over 2500m at Flemington and a third over 2400m at Caulfield.
But Schofield is confident he can save every inch of ground from the inside gate and give the Chris Waller trained stayer every chance to run out the distance.
“From barrier one he won’t have to spend a penny,” Schofield told The Daily Telegraph.
“It’s so important in these staying races to conserve energy and given we’re all sort of wondering if he can run the trip, I think barrier one will give the horse every possible opportunity.
“We’ll obviously need a bit of luck at some point to get off the rail but with a horse like him, I’d rather have that issue than being trapped deep without cover.”
Schofield also feels that Reigning is ready to peak at his fifth run in this campaign and was impressed with his win two starts back when he finished strongly from well back in the field to take out the $85,000 Schweppes Handicap (2000m) at Rosehill on June 13.
“When he charged home from a seemingly impossible position to win at Rosehill third-up, I think you could tell he was racing a bit better than what he had been in the past,” Schofield said.
“I think when a horse hits its peak they’re capable of going beyond their usual limits.”
“They run faster and do it for longer. Maybe this bloke is in that spot now, he’s always shown ability and perhaps he’s just needed time.”
Reigning has since finished third over 1900m in a BenchMark 95 Handicap at Rosehill on July 4 and goes into the Grafton Cup as a the $6 third favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Last start Winter Cup winner Kapour heads the market order at $3.50 ahead of the Gai Waterhouse English import Bonfire at $5.50.
The track has been rated a Good 3 for Grafton Cup day with the rail in the true position.
Grafton Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.50 Kapour, $5.50 Bonfire, $6 Reigning, $7.50 Shoreham, $9 Banca Mo, Danchai, $13 Darci Be Good, $17 Dream Folk, $21 Archean, $31 Noisy Ocean, $41 Phrases, $81 Rapidus, $101 Mullet Man, Kingston Time.