Waterhouse Watches Grafton Cup From Afar
Gai Waterhouse will be a distant observer when she bids for her third in win next week’s $150,000 Grafton Cup.
Waterhouse is enjoying her annual overseas winter holiday in Europe and will not return to Australia until July 17.
Her travels will prevent from being on hand to watch her imported stayer Bonfire tackle the Listed Blanchard Haulage Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 9 – but that has been norm for the champion trainer.
Waterhouse has won the Grafton Cup twice with Rocking On in 2006 and last year with Queenstown, but is yet to be on hand to raise the trophy in person.
Bonfire, a high class Group winner in the UK as a three-year-old, is yet to win a race in Australia since joining the Waterhouse stable last year.
However he has competed in strong company with distinction, placing three times last spring including the G3 Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield.
Last Saturday at Rosehill he was a game second in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m), beaten by another Grafton Cup contender Kapour , when having only his second start since the spring and jumping sharply in distance from his first-up run over 1600m in the Hawkesbury Cup.
Waterhouse’s racing manager Adrian Bott said the Grafton Cup was the obvious next race for Bonfire as the stayer works towards the spring.
“He will be fitter and we expect he will get a much better track at Grafton than the very heavy conditions he encountered last Saturday at Rosehill,”Bott said.
Bott said the three-year-old Meteor Storm would also got to Grafton for the $45,000 Grafton Guineas on Ramornie Day next Wednesday. The Guineas carries a $50,000 bonus for the winner of the horse is an Inglis sales graduate.
Chris Waller, still chasing his first Grafton Cup win after several failed attempts including a second last year with Secessio , has already nominated the in-form quartet of Reigning , Danchai , Bagman and Gosh .
Other confirmed entries include last Saturday’s Rosehill winners Kapour and Maurus , Doomben winner In Masquerade , former Victorian stayer Shoreham , Banca Mo and Noisy Ocean .
Shoreham comes off a second in the Tattersalls Cup at the Gold Coast when he was having his first start for his new trainer Gerald Ryan.
Former Tasmanian-trained stayer Banca Mo was fourth in that race after a close second to Danchai in the Ipswich Cup. Banca Mo is now prepared at the Gold Coast by Bevan Laming.
Entries for all races on the two feature days of the Grafton carnival on July 8 and 9 close at 11am on Thursday.