Trainer Ross Stitt has had a pretty good start to the new year at his home track at Taree in recent weeks and is looking to extend that winning run to Sunday’s Grafton meeting.
Stitt has won three races at Taree in the past 10 days and heads north to Grafton with four runners on the seven-race program.
His Grafton team is headed by the four-year-old Editors who looks hard to beat in the Benchmark 66 Hcp (1400m). He will also saddle up Pinnacle Power in the Maiden Hcp (1400m), El Casco in the Benchmark 58 Hcp (2200m) and I’ll Take Money in the Benchmark 58 Hcp (1100m).
Stitt said Editors was the pick of his Grafton runners and expects the Street Cry gelding to be hard to beat at his third run this preparation.
Editors resumed with a close fourth to Traumatised in a Benchmark 66 over 1250m at Taree on December 23 then at his most recent start finished on well again to be beaten just over a half a length into third place behind Valbeata and Dual Escape in another Benchmark 66 at the same track and distance on January 14.
“His first two runs back at Taree have been very good,” said Stitt. “He was hitting the line well both times over the 1250m and he’s really looking for the 1400m now – it’s his pet distance.
“And he’s drawn well. The one concern I have is the 61kg as he’s not an overly big horse.”
Editors runs third at Taree on January 14
Drawn gate two in Sunday’s 11-horse field, Editors will again be ridden by Matt McGuren.
One of Editors’ main rivals, the John Shelton-trained Cool Prince, was allotted equal topweight with 61kg, but he will be ridden by 1.5kg claiming apprentice Leah Kilner.
Originally with the Godolphin stable, Editors has won four races since joining Stitt at Taree back in late 2017. Three of those wins have been over the 1400m trip, the most recent at Taree on September 3.
Stitt has ruled out giving Editors a crack at this year’s Country Championships with the Mid North Coast Qualifier to be run over 1200m at Port Macquarie on February 17.
“The 1200m of the Qualifier is just too short for him,” said Stitt.
While Editors is the pick of Stitt’s Grafton runners, he is also expecting good runs from his three other starters.
Stitt has been frustrated with Pinnacle Power, still a maiden after 19 starts, but the four-year-old did put in one of his best efforts last start when second in a 1400m Taree Maiden on January 2.
El Casco had gone winless for his first 20 starts before he broke through last start in a Benchmark 58 over 2000m at Taree on January 14.
“El Casco finally broke through over the 2000m last time and hopefully he’s now turned the corner and can win again,” said Stitt.
“The step up to 2200m certainly won’t pose a problem for him.”
Stitt’s final runner at the meeting is I’ll Take Money who is coming off a terrific first-up run at ‘cricket score’ odds at Taree on January 14.
I’ll Take Money opened at $151 and started at $101 when finishing third to Lips ‘n’ Lashes and Miss Fisher in an Open Hcp over 1000m.
“I couldn’t believe she was that ridiculous price when she resumed. I know quite a few people who agreed and had something on her each-way,'' he said.
“She should race well again - she’s drawn well (gate two) on Sunday and will carry 53kg after Cejay Graham’s claim.”