By Chris Scholtz
The powerful Godolphin stable has short listed three horses for feature races at next week’s Grafton Cup carnival.
Darren Beadman, who will step down as Godolphin’s interim head trainer on the weekend when James Cummings steps into the permanent role, has named Mogador, Badajoz and Flow as the three horses to lead the stable’s assault on the two main days of the five meeting carnival that starts on Thursday.
Beadman confirmed that Mogador is set to start in the $160,000 Grafton Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday week in a bid to improve on his luckless fourth in last year’s race.
He may be joined in the Ramornie by Saturday’s Sunshine Coast winner Badajoz but the stable also has the option of starting the in-form sprinter in the $50,000 Sir James Kirby Quality over 1000m on Grafton Cup day on Thursday week.
Promising three-year-old Flow will tackle the $50,000 Tursa Grafton Guineas (1600m) on Ramornie day.
“Mogador, Badajoz and Flow are doing well in Brisbane and will head to Grafton for the carnival on the way back to Sydney,” Beadman said. “Mogador has been set for the Ramornie while Badajoz will be nominated for the Ramornie and the Kirby Quality.
“I will leave it up to James to work out the race plans for Badajoz after he takes charge next weekend. Flow ran a cracker of a race at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday and he should be hard to beat in the Guineas. Unfortunately we don’t have a Grafton Cup horse this year but there may be one or two others we could send from the Sydney stable for restricted races over the two days – that will also be up to James.”
Lonhro 4yo Mogador has been an enigma for Godolphin, winning just twice in 15 starts, but there have been positive signs in his three runs since resuming that he is close to breaking his winless drought that goes back to his last win in September of 2015. He resumed at Rosehill in May before going to Brisbane where he has run creditable races in the Listed Hinkler Quality (1200m) and Gr 3 Healy Stakes (1200m) at his latest start on June 24.
Badajoz has been in excellent form this preparation, following Sydney placings at Randwick and Rosehill with a classy win over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday for his fourth success in 16 starts.
Flow, after winning easily over 1400m at Kembla Grange on June 10, finished second in Saturday’s $125,000 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) won by Crack Me Up after racing three wide for most of the trip.
Sheik Mohammed’s Godolphin stable has not won a Ramornie, Grafton Cup or Grafton Guineas but has gone close with a second in the 2015 Ramornie with Barbed and fourths in last year’s Ramornie and Grafton Cup with Mogador and Malice. However, Sheikh Mohammed won successive Ramornie Handicaps in 2010 and 2011 with Pinwheel and Jerezana when Peter Snowden was training his Australian team under the Darley banner.
Entries for the Ramornie Handicap and Grafton Cup close at 11am on Thursday and are set to draw recent feature winners from Sydney and Queensland.
The Ron Quinton-trained Boss Lane, last start winner of the June Stakes at Randwick, has been set for the Ramornie while Supply And Demand and My Diamantine, first and second in the Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, are poised for a return match in the Grafton Cup.
Former champion jockey Ron Quinton never rode a Ramornie or Grafton Cup winner but made his mark on the carnival as a trainer in 2001 when he won the Ramornie with Juggling Time, ridden by Mark Newnham.