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Punter's Pal - Grafton Country Championships Qualifier (Sunday)

By Ray Hickson

Nothing but quotes from the trainers of every runner in Sunday's $150,000 NRRA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Grafton.

1. Evopex (Jim Jarvis): “He comes to hand pretty quickly and it was a hard trial at Grafton. I thought if I gave him a run he might go over the top. What I liked about him, up in this area we get some wet tracks and he goes on wet or dry. So I hope the rain that is promised will hit Grafton.’’

2. She’s Choosie (Greg Kilner): “She’s needed the two runs but she is fit and well now. The way she’s racing she’s a bit dour now and she wants to settle a bit more. She’ll be on pace, especially if it is wet, and Grafton can be a bit of a leaderish track.’’

She's Choosie (Pic: Bradley Photos)

3. Queen Of Kingston (Daniel Bowen): “We’ve taken our time with her and it is starting pay off. She’s a classy horse with a lot of ability and is starting to build a nice record. She handles any conditions and likes Grafton, having only raced there twice for two wins. We’ve timed her preparation well and she will be spot on.’’

4. Kitteau (Steven Phelps): “He shouldn’t have got beaten at his second run, from where he was he just couldn’t get the run and couldn’t get out. We gave him a light hitout on Tuesday morning, hard held, and just hitting the line. He’s had some work in the water and he’s fine for the race. Luke (Rolls) knows how to ride him, there shouldn’t be any hassles.’’

5. Lawan (Jim Jarvis): “It was a tough run (first-up) but that's what we wanted. He was a week or two behind my other horse coming in. If we strike a damp track he will come into his own too.’’

6. Wallander (Matthew Dunn): “He’s not a very good chaser, he needs to be either in front or making midrace moves to get to the front. He’s a good chance, if he could happen to get himself in front he can take plenty of stopping.’’

7. Ten Taubada’s (Matthew Dunn): “He desperately needs a wet track. His form looks sub standard but it’s not, he won’t go on hard tracks. It’s one of those situations with him, we need to find him a wet track but he needs to go to the races and if I don’t keep racing him and he finds a wet track he’s not fit. If it’s heavy he’ll come into it.’’

8. Cinnamon Missile (Matthew Dunn): “I’m not sure whether he is getting there a bit early, he hasn’t had much races but he’s an up and comer. By this time next year he would have won a Saturday race in town. But he’s a good candidate, he’s got city form, and he deserves to be there.’’

9. Vacate (Brett Dodson): “It would’ve been nice to draw more favourably but he’s going to go forward. He was probably a bit soft for his first couple but his last run was good. He definitely has to step up a grade but he’s improving all the time. A wet track might help a bit with the barrier, if he can get a nice enough run and be saved up he has the turn of foot to put himself in the race.’’

10. Viking Raid (Stephen Lee): “We gave him a freshen after he won at Ballina, I took him to Ipswich and gave him a 1200m run. His run was quite good, it was just a bit short for him. A wet track wouldn’t bother me, he’s a free rolling horse. In his last three starts he’s settled and that’s something he has in his favour.’’

11. Rakhish (Scott Henley): “We’ve drawn well and we’re expecting rain and if we get it, on his last run, he’s in the race up to his eyeballs. I went to Brisbane the other day purposely to find out if he was a Country Championships horse or not. Things didn’t work out for him, he had to circle the field and hit the lead at the 300m. It was only the last 50m they got him. He’s going to present at the top of the straight and be hard to beat.’’

Trainer Mathew Dunn (Pic: Grant Guy)

12. Sawtell (Brett Dodson): “He’s probably more looking for a mile but I’ve kept him fresh and spaced his runs. If it is a high pressure race, there’s a lot of speed out wide so if they do go hard he might be a knockout hope at big odds.”

13. La Scopa (Matthew Dunn): “She hasn’t had a run for a few weeks and that was what we were always going to with her. She had her last gallop on Tuesday and worked as good as I’ve seen her go. The barrier doesn’t worry me that much, I’d rather be out there than buried away on the fence because she’s going to be in the second half of the field.”

14. Portuguese Tart (Wayne Sutton): “She should have won last start, she probably should have won her last four. She had to come wide and they ran their last 600m in 33.88, she gave them a start and must have run 32.8. It’s obviously a hard race. I’m expecting the pace to be on, which she needs because she’ll get back, and on the bigger track at Grafton when they turn they’ll fan and I don’t think she’ll have to come wide, she can take gaps between them. It’ll be tough but she can peel off a quick last 600m.’’

15 (1em). Caro Cavallo (John Shelton): “I’m happy with the horse and his run was better than it looked the other day. Back on his home track he wouldn’t be the roughest horse in the race for sure. A wet track wouldn’t worry me, getting a run is my biggest concern.’’

16 (2em). African Academy (Stephen Lee): “He missed the start by a length and a half at his last run at the Coast and they ran quite a good time so he had no hope over the 1200m. If he gets in he’s an up on the pace runner and being by Turffontein he’d handle a wet track.’’

All the fields, form and replays for Sunday's Country Championships meeting at Grafton

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