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Country Championships Dream Still Alive For Grafton Trainer

By Mark Brassel

Grafton trainer John Shelton is keeping his 2017 Country Championships ‘dream alive’ despite his mare Spinning Quarters tasting defeat last start on home soil.

The chestnut was beaten a nose by second favourite Cavitation over 1406m last Sunday (29 January) when sent out the $2.50 favourite.

“I initially thought she would have to win that race in order to raise her benchmark rating enough to get into the field for the Country Championships Qualifier,” Shelton explained. “But on reflection, I still think I will nominate her and see how we go. You never know she may sneak into the race and we only have to walk across the road.”

Left: Spinning Quarters with Matthew Paget aboard. Picture by Michèle Jedlicka (Tamworth Northern Daily Leader)

John Shelton – like many trainers in the Northern Rivers Region – will be chasing a berth in the $150,000 NRRA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) to be staged at Grafton on Sunday 12 February.

The first two home qualify to run in the $400,000 Country Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday 1 April.

“I thought she’d win and the only excuse I can make for her defeat is it was a very hot day and the heat may have taken a bit out of her,” Shelton said. “The heat seemed to get a few of the other horses on the day.

“She pulled up OK but she knows she’s had a tough run in the heat – I’ll just freshen her now and take her swimming.”

Spinning Quarters, a four-year-old, has only raced 11 times for three wins and just as many placings: “She’s an honest thing. She’s as game as they come and tries her heart out each time she starts.”

Shelton trained Spinning Quarters’ older sister, Cash Spinner, with whom he won eight races in the Northern Rivers along with six placings.

“The people that own Cash Spinner have the mum, so they decided to also give me Spinning Quarters. They love their racing and have a lot of fun.

“They live up near Forster-Tuncurry and always come down and watch this mare run. They generally make a few days of it, that’s how much they enjoy it.

“It would be tremendous if I can get this mare into the big Country Championships race – I reckon they’ll be staying a week!”

Check out Grafton's Showcase/Country Championships program here

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