Grafton preview: Tips, best bets and inside mail

Is the file of Bugalugs at Grafton being revered sufficient heading into Sunday’s Maclean Cup?

The five-year-old’s file at his residence observe is unbelievable (9:4-3-2) however is rated a double-figure odds hope within the function, regardless of having by no means missed a prime three end on the circuit.

Trainer John Shelton has him set for a race he’s already gained twice. But he is aware of that Bugalugs can’t depend on his supreme residence observe file to get the job executed.

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He’ll need to peak to win.

“It’s a pretty strong race. It’s probably one of the strongest Maclean Cups I’ve seen,” Shelton stated.

“My bloke is a $12 chance so that shows you what sort of race it is.

“He loves racing at Grafton and I don’t think he’s missed a place there so you could say he’s a track specialist.”

Three of his eight wins have come on rain-affected floor which will probably be probably at the moment on the NSW north coast.

Shelton simply doesn’t need the situations to make it unattainable for his horse with 60.5kg on his again underneath Ben Looker, who is aware of him effectively.

“There’s a bit of rain up here and he handles the soft but I don’t think I’d want it to get to a Heavy 10 which it shouldn’t,” Shelton stated.

“I’d lose a bit of confidence if it was a bog. One day he went on a real heavy track and didn’t go so good.

“He’s got a big weight too which isn’t ideal on a Heavy 10 but the forecast is for only five to 10mm.

“It was pretty dry on Thursday.”

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Looker rode Bugalugs into third within the John Carlton Cup final begin behind Northern Knight, who he’ll need to beat residence to get the win.

He’s received barrier 13 however that’s not seen as a destructive, particularly in at the moment’s attempting situations which ought to see the inside a part of the observe lower up by the seventh race.

“He ran well last time from a wide gate off a freshen up,” Shelton stated.

“He’s a big, grouse sort of a horse and they ran along pretty well and he went well.

“It works a bit more in our way this time (weight-wise) but ­Northern Knight still one of the hardest to beat.

“I’d rather draw out there than one or two.

“Benny Looker rides him and he said he’s rather ride him out of eight or nine than one or two because you’ve to boot up and hold your spot.

“When you draw wider you can take your time more in getting across so I’m not that worried about the draw.”

Shelton additionally races Brunel Kingdom within the third race over 1100m for maiden horses.

He ran sixth on debut at Coffs Harbour seven weeks in the past and he’s trialled up since.

“He’s a lovely horse and is a big, strong fella,” Shelton stated.

“He’s drawn a terrible gate (14) but I think he’ll handle the wet so it might not be so bad drawing so wide. I’m still working him out but he’s got a bit of speed if you want to give him a boot so he’ll probably go forward.”




He’s seven however in prime type and is off a charging win within the John Carlton Cup. Gets all of the favours at the moment from the gate (4), not like a few of his primary rivals.



Got a bit drained late first-up and will take loads out of that run, which got here off no trial. This is a weak maiden so it’s his to win.



Having her first run so there’s pure doubts, however on her trial type she appears promising and is with a number one steady.


Race 5: 3, 4, 7

Race 6: 2, 3, 10

Race 7: 1, 2, 3, 4

Race 8: 1, 3, 10


Michael Costa has had a ripper Grafton carnival and can finish it on a excessive with the likes of Devine Factor, Morethannumberone, Getyourgreyon and The Catch.


Andrew Mallyon has an excellent guide and his trip on favorite Galaxy Belle, from a large gate, will probably be key within the sixth. He rides for Michael Costa in a lot of the different races so anticipate a superb time out.

Camera IconTrainer Michael Costa gained the Grafton Cup earlier within the week. Credit: News Corp Australia, Glenn Hampson



A 3120m race to kick issues off. Marecat drops means again in grade after being no match for them within the Group 3 Tatt’s Cup. How many go from a Group 3 again to a rustic Benchmark 58? She ought to go shut. Nature Boy gained by greater than 5 lengths right here final begin over 2217m so it is going to be fascinating to see how effectively he stays. Perhaps Chapal can determine, but it surely’s laborious to get enthusiastic about anybody. Maybe belief the one dropping again from Group firm.

Bet: Marecat to win.


Our Little Louie simply drained a bit late when first-up off a 16-week spell and not using a trial, so anticipate a significantly better run from a adequate gate in a really weak maiden race. Calcareous didn’t fairly lower it in Queensland however that doesn’t imply new coach Lauren Abbott can’t discover a win for him within the northern NSW bush scene. Bonchevo has additionally been away for some time however confirmed extra promise than most rivals in his solely two runs.

Bet: Our Little Louie to win.


Whitsunday Star isn’t the most important horse going round at the moment however seemed ultra-impressive in a trial when third and underneath a really tight maintain. We discover out what’s underneath the bonnet at the moment. Inari Fox was pipped final begin however wasn’t weakening on the road and was carrying extra weight than the winner. Catch A Thought was solely getting heat late in a 1200m race six weeks in the past and drops again 1100m at the moment. She’s been effectively backed at her solely two runs, so owes the punters one right here.

Bet: Quinella 3, 12.


Le Figaro would’ve gained final begin at Ballina had she not needed to cowl additional floor because the winner went up the inside. She’s been fairly constant and one other win is coming however she’ll want luck from a large draw. Hopefully throughout this preparation Devine Factor can string some races collectively after a stop-start interval of her profession. She’ll be significantly better for the run final time. Bay Of Dragons has a large gate which is able to see her begin overs off her final run and she’ll push ahead and strive and take unhealthy luck out of the equation.

Bet: Le Figaro to win.


They’re backing new coach Michael Costa to get the best out of Morethannumberone, who debuts for the steady from barrier 12. He’s been good on the provincials in Sydney and has trialled up effectively sufficient to be profitable this. Dorset Coast and Mick The Hat look good possibilities additionally however the latter is best odds. Pride Of Pyingerra has put two wins collectively in lesser grade however will get the gate to be in his supreme on-speed spot within the run, to present him an opportunity to step up.

Bet: Morethannumberone to win.


Galaxy Belle is on the lookout for her first win after three-straight placings this time in and she’s bred to get pleasure from getting out to 1700m. If she will discover a great place from an ungainly draw she ought to end excessive of them. Lookonchina appears her hardest opponent but additionally has drawn broad. He likes to be optimistic and ought to attempt to cross them to guide. It may make him susceptible late. Sanchez will deal with the moist floor and is constructing in the direction of an enormous run.

Bet: Galaxy Belle to win.


Northern Knight is a seven-year-old however has solely had 24 runs and is in type after profitable the John Carlton Cup. He handles moist floor and will get the gun run. Getyourgreyon brings adequate Queensland type to be available in the market, and a heavy observe gained’t damage. Bugalugs is the observe specialist and will get a 2kg weight aid on Northern Knight, who beat him late final begin.

Bet: Northern Knight to win.


The Catch has had two good runs over 1400m, together with a win, to organize for this 1700m project. His file isn’t nice however he’s in the appropriate a part of the nation to enhance on it and get and soft run in transit from the gate. Zavy’s Hope likes racing right here and has been a mannequin of consistency of late but it surely’s laborious to win over 1700m with 61.5kg. Allares hasn’t been far off profitable at her previous two and simply must deal with the moist floor to be within the end once more.

Bet: Quinella 1, 3.

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