Trainer Jenny Graham will be chasing a million-dollar Randwick feature in the coming weeks with stable star Victorem, but in the meantime hopes to snare her first ever runner in the Port Macquarie Cup when consistent performer Backhouse Billy steps out over a more suitable trip on Sunday.
Backhouse Billy carries topweight of 61kg in Sunday’s $32,000 Stowe Australia Port Macquarie Cup Prelude (1812m). The first two placegetters are exempt from the ballot for the $100,000 Port Macquarie Cup (2000m) on October 5.
The Port Macquarie-based Graham has plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks with her talented four-year-old Victorem, who looms as one of major players in the inaugural $1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m), the race for NSW country-trained sprinters to be run on the same day as The Everest at Randwick on October 13.
Backhouse Billy will never race for that kind of prizemoney, but Graham thinks the six-year-old is on target for another good preparation after a run of consistent performances on NSW and Queensland tracks earlier in the year. His consistency was rewarded with a win in a $70,000 Benchmark 80 Hcp (2200m) at a Sunshine Coast metro meeting on April 14.
“He raced consistently all of last prep, I think he’s just improved with maturity,” said Graham.
Backhouse Billy goes into Sunday’s Cup Prelude at his third run back after resuming with sixth in the Hopkins Livermore Cup (1400m) at Taree on August 17 then a last-start seventh to Our Winnie in a Benchmark 70 over 1600m at Gosford on September 6.
“I would have liked a little less weight than the 61kg in Sunday’s race, but I’m very happy with how he’s progressing. I was pleased with his last run over 1600m at Gosford and the step up to the 1800m is what he’s looking for now,” said Graham.
Graham is yet to have a runner in her hometown Port Macquarie Cup and hopes Backhouse Billy can secure his spot: “This run should have him rock hard to tackle 2000m next time and hopefully he can earn a spot in the Port Macquarie Cup (on October 5) as I’ve never had a runner in the Cup before,” she said. Backhouse Billy drew ideally in gate four and will be partnered by Peter Graham.
Victorem has already given Jenny Graham a year to cherish and the son of I Am Invincible could have much more to offer. Winner of five of his seven starts, Victorem has so far amassed just over $644,000 in prizemoney, courtesy of his win in the $500,000 Country Championship Final (1400m) at Randwick back on April 7. He will tackle the upcoming The Kosciuszko first-up.
“I couldn’t be happier with him and it’s an amazing thrill for country trainers like me to have the opportunity to race for such huge prizemoney,” said Graham.
Sunday’s Port Macquarie Cup Prelude field also includes in-form Armidale galloper Melted Moments, and veteran campaigner Phrases who is looking to turn the clock back. The Peter Cheers-trained Phrases, now a nine-year-old, was runner-up in the Port Macquarie Cup Prelude way back in 2013 when trained by Bindi Cheers, before winning the $80,000 Cup a few weeks later.