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Sylvester Out To Parlay Weekend Luck With Drachenfels (Grafton Tuesday)

The formguide suggests Drachenfels has his work cut out against hot favourite Plonka at Grafton on Tuesday but, after the weekend Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester has just had, an upset just might be on the cards.

Sylvester bagged a long-priced two-track double on Saturday and hopes his winning run can extend to Tuesday with his two Grafton runners Drachenfels and Rubick's Command.

Trainer Jeremy Sylvester (Pic: Bradley Photos)

Drachenfels, who has not won for more than three years, is looking to upset Coffs Harbour galloper Plonka and the in-form Grafton sprinter Bugalugs in the Open Hcp (1200m).

Rubick's Command is looking to bounce back from a Kensington failure last start when he tackles the C,G&E Class 1 Hcp (1200m).

Sylvester certainly had a big day out on Saturday, landing the first race at Rosehill with the $31 rank outsider If You Think So in the TAB Highway Plate (1500m).

If You Think So, ridden well out in front by Kathy O'Hara, won like an odds-on fancy, clearing out for a 4.5-length demolition of the field.
Sylvester then won the second race at Tawworth with $13 Maiden winner Day Dreamin', ridden by Rachael Murray.

"We thought If You Think So would be hard to beat out in front in those heavy conditions and it was never in doubt really," said Sylvester.

"And then we won a race at Tamworth to top if off and it was great to see both horses win on Saturday as they are both raced by fantastic owners."

Sylvester knows Drachenfels faces an imposing task against Plonka and Bugalugs at Grafton, but thinks the seven-year-old can run a competitive race providing he produces his best.

Originally with Godolphin, Drachenfels won four races for the racing powerhouse, the most recent being way back in December, 2017.

He later went to Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker who could not win a race with him. Sylvester purchased the gelding for $30,000 at an Inglis Online Sale early last year.

He has run several placings in his 12 starts for Sylvester, including a good third behind Vacate and Exclusive over 1215m at his only previous Grafton run last May.

Drachenfels resumed with a 2.9-length sixth behind Bryan's Babe in the Summer Sizzler (1000m) at Muswellbrook on January 18.

"If he produced his best Drachenfels could certainly run a race, but unfortunately he's always been one of those 'gunna' horses," said Sylvester.

"When we bought him last year we put him straight into work and he ran several good races without winning.

"He ran a nice race first-up over the 1000m at Muswellbrook and he can certainly improve up to the 1200m on Tuesday. If he reproduces his effort at Grafton over the same trip last year, he'd certainly be right in the race.

"But we're a bit stiff to run into a such tough race on Tuesday with both Plonka and Johnny Shelton's horse (Bugalugs) lining up. They certainly look the two to fight out the race."

The Warren Gavenlock-trained Plonka looks likely to start a short-priced favourite in his return clash with Bugalugs on Tuesday. Bugalugs won his third race from five starts at Grafton when he beat Plonka by 2.4 lengths over 1000m on January 24.

However, Plonka, who was first-up last time, is expected to turn the tables when they clash over the 1200m on Tuesday.

Sylvester thinks Rubick's Command can bounce back from a last-start failure in Sydney and be very competitive back in Tuesday's Class 1.


Drachenfels runs sixth at Muswellbrook on January 18

Rubick's Command was placed in two of his first three starts before winning his Maiden over 1300m at Gunnedah on December 15. Sylvester took him to Sydney for his next start where he raced very erratically and struck trouble when last of nine behind Boyles in a Class 3 TAB Highway over 1400m on a heavy 8 on the Kensington track on January 2.

Rubick's Command will carry an offside bubble cheeker for the first time on Tuesday.

"I don't think the heavy conditions were an issue with him, but he raced very erratically and has had to trial since, which he did at Tuncurry (winning easily over 1000m on January 16).

"He's had a few issues along the way which is why he's such a lightly-raced four-year-old. He can run a much-improved race at Grafton on Tuesday. And a bit of rain at Grafton over the next day or two wouldn't hurt - a soft5 or 6 would really suit both my runners."

Apprentice Mikayla Weir has a great chance to extend her lead in the Rising Star Series for NSW apprentices when she partners Tamworth gelding Bumrah in the opening race on Tuesday.

Weir currently leads the 17-heat series with 33 points, ahead of nearest rival Dylan Gibbons on 22 points. The Rising Star Series kicked off on December 2 and ends at Canterbury on February 26.

Previously trained in Victoria by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, Bumrah has had two starts for Tamworth trainer Luke Morgan and looks ready to run a strong race stepping up to the 1600m of Tuesday's Rising Star Series Heat.

Bumrah won his Maiden at Pakenham over 1400m last April then wasn't far behind the likes the handy gallopers November Dreaming and Influential Girl at his next two runs over 1600m.

Bumrah resumed for Morgan at Glen Innes on January 9, finishing an encouraging third in a Benchmark 58 over 1200m. Last start he battled on well off a wide barrier to finish a close fourth in a Benchmark 58 over 1400m at Tamworth on January 21.

All the fields, form and replays for Tuesday's Grafton meeting

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