Forget the weather, this year’s Winter Cup line-up is all class

A rain-soaked track took the edge off the winner’s times yet a high-class field will assemble at Albion Park on Thursday for the running of the group 1 Winter Cup. Last year, Tony Brett’s Iso Octane was dominant in a slick 29.93 seconds, holding out all-distance star He Knows Uno to score by 3½ lengths. Neil Falls’s Cold Fusion was third yet there was no real depth in the line-up. The same is not the case this time. Tony Brett’s Brisbane Cup winner Glen Gallon snared the opening heat in the $75,000 to-the-winner series and registered 30.52 s – a massive 12 lengths outside his previous best at the track (29.79 s). Such was the sloppy nature of the racing surface, the winner’s times on the night ranged from Young Snozz’s 30.37 s best-of-the-night offering to 31.42 s. Ron Ball’s smart Cakes And Pies finished strongly to secure the second heat in 30.66 s before Young Snozz ploughed through the conditions to score by 4½ lengths from Queensland Derby winner Bellagio Lad. Geoff Allen’s in-form Hanson Senor was untroubled in heat four. A loping, long strider, Hanson Senor dominated from the first turn and had more than six lengths to spare over a late-closing Metz Magic at the finish in 30.48 s. Favourites Zipping Catra and the classy Ritza Ryder won heats five and six in 30.75 s and 30.93 s respectively. Victorian Wy Yung Tiger then added spice to the decider with an impressive 30.55 s offering in the final heat. Box draw: 1 Ritza Ryder, 2 Young Snozz, 3 Cakes and Pies, 4 Glen Gallon, 5 Wy Yung Tiger, 6 Bellagio Lad, 7 Hanson Senor, 8 Zipping Catra. Prince Elite and Sapporo are the reserves.
Nanjing Night Net

GRAFTON BACK ON TRACK

Grafton’s winter carnival has found the fountain of youth. Faltering amid a lack of TAB coverage, a worn grass track and diminishing racing dates, Grafton was moving from an institution to an irrelevance. On Monday, its rich 407 m maiden series – offering $12,000 to-the-winner – kicks off with 11 heats and secretary Brad Ellis has overseen the revitalisation of the popular club. “The changing of the track from grass to sand in 2004 was important and, with Sky Racing coverage, our racing dates returned to something like the numbers the club had in the halcyon days,” Ellis said. “There were 91 nominations for the maiden series, just a remarkable number. Trainers come from far and wide and only last week, we had five group 1 winning trainers lining up to trial maidens. We have 42 on-site bookings for caravans and that provides real character to the place. We have six meetings in the next two weeks with our big night being Wednesday, July 11 when the maiden final is supported by the sprinters and stayers’ cups.”

GOLD-PLATED LITTER

A surging win by Dyna Lowell in the Traralgon Cup on June 22 made him the fourth dog in Paul Wheeler’s Collision-Gold Rush Bale litter to earn more than $100,000 on the track. Dual group 1 winner Dyna Tron heads the all-star list at $519,753, with the nine-strong team accumulating more than $1.12 m. All but two of the litter carry Wheeler’s Dyna prefix – with Allen Beadman and Bitten the exceptions. The Allen prefix is the least used of the three prefixes, with Bale the most famous.

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