The Grafton Cup headlines a huge day of racing at Grafton on Thursday and brings together a number of horses that impressed during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
It is Caloundra Cup winner Igraine that is a clear favourite, but there has also been some early money for Exoteric, Sopressa and He Ekscels.
We have analysed every single runner in the field and our complete 2019 Grafton Cup tips can be found below.
Igraine is the horse to beat in the Grafton Cup. She could hardly have been more impressive in the Caloundra Cup and the field that she meets in this contest is no tougher. All of her best form has been on wet tracks and he has recorded two wins from three starts on heavy tracks, which does give her an advantage over the rest of this field. She maps to get a lovely run in transit with Robbie Fradd in the saddle and there is no reason that she can’t make it back-to-back wins.
Exoteric comes into the Grafton Cup on the back of a couple of credible performances in the Brisbane Cup and Caloundra Cup. He was still soundly beaten by Igraine in the Caloundra Cup and he doesn’t meet her any better at the weights for this contest. It is tough to see him turning-the-tables.
Sopressa was gallant in defeat in the Caloundra Cup and she should ensure that the race turns into a genuine staying contest. Matthew McGillivray will take her straight to the front in the early stages of this contest and there is no fitter horse in this field. She will give her rivals something to catch and she is the main danger to Igraine.
He Ekscels stamped himself as a genuine contender for the Grafton Cup with a narrow win over So You Win in the Kensei Handicap at Rosehill Gardens last start. This is a genuine step-up in quality, but he has run well in races like the Eclipse Stakes in the past and he is not outclassed in this sort of company. Daniel Griffin will have no choice but to ride him aggressively in the early stages of this contest and he could challenge Sopressa for the lead. $6 seems around the right price.
Vaucluse Bay is far from the most consistent horse in the world and he doesn’t win out of turn, but he is capable of a high-rating performance on his day. It has been over a year since he won a race and his last start effort was poor, but before that he did run well in the Gold Coast Cup. It wouldn’t surprise to see him run a race at $10.
Happy Go Plucky
Happy Go Plucky won the Grafton Cup Prelude last start, but this is a genuine step-up in quality. He was outclassed in the Premier’s Cup during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and I’m really not sure that he is up to a race of this quality. I am happy to oppose at the current odds.
No Money No Honey
This is a big step-up in quality for No Money No Honey after she was narrowly denied in a Benchmark 70 event at Randwick last start. She is a consistent stayer and she will have no issues running out the trip strongly, but the $12 currently available does seem under the odds.
I’ll Miss You
I’ll Miss You finished at the tail of the field at Ipswich last start and it is impossible to back her in this contest off that performance. She is one of the outsiders in this field for a reason.
Sacred Day claimed a maiden race win in Australia at Doomben in June and Tony Pike has elected to throw him in the deep end in the Grafton Cup. He is one of the few horses in this field that still does have upside, but he hasn’t shown anything during his racing career to date to suggest that he is capable of winning at this level.
Protest won at the Gold Coast last start, but this is a genuine step-up in class. It is tough to see where he gets from the wide barrier draw and he will definitely need some luck in running.
Loving Home hasn’t won for over 12 months and he missed the placings in his past five race starts. $51 is under the odds.
Latino Lover was beaten by over eight lengths in the Grafton Cup Prelude and this race is much tougher. He is one of the extreme outsiders for a reason.
Uber Cougar is another galloper that comes off a fairly flat effort in the Grafton Cup Prelude. She has never shown anything to suggest that she is capable of winning at this level.
Missy Musketeer has recorded only one win from her 23 race starts and it is tough to see her getting that second race in a race like the Grafton Cup.