The heavy track at Grafton on Tuesday holds no fears for Armidale trainer Paul Grills who is confident his in-form galloper Melted Moments will be hard to beat in the final race on the eight-race program.
The Grafton track was rated a heavy 10 on Monday morning after receiving 56.5mm of rain in the last week but the club was confident the meeting would go ahead.
Melted Moments, winner of two of his past three starts, will have no problems on the heavy ground when he lines up in the Patriots Bloodstock Benchmark 65 Hcp (1700m). The gelding has had two runs in heavy going for an easy Coffs Harbour win last year and a third at Grafton on May 19 this year.
“He gets through the heavy ground pretty well,” said Grills. “It was so heavy at Grafton that day (in May) he stumbled a bit and almost dislodged Peter Graham.”
Melted Moments has been ridden by Carla Doughty, Cejay Graham and Jodi Worley in recent starts, but Grills has turned to Peter Graham for Tuesday’s race.
Cejay Graham rode Melted Moments when he won a 1900m Benchmark 50 at Armidale on September 9 and again when he was narrowly beaten by With Every Bound in a 1610m Benchmark 60 at Grafton on September 26. Worley was on board last start when Melted Moments took out the 1600m Manilla Cup at Gunnedah on October 7.
“Nothing against the girls, they have been riding him well, but this horse can be a hard horse to ride – he tends to hang out and doesn’t settle – so I’ve booked Peter this time,” said Grills.
“He’s really been racing well now that I’ve got him up to 1600m and a bit further. He’s gone close to winning three straight. I thought he had the race won at Grafton two runs back – he headed that horse (With Every Bound) at about the 200m but he fought back strongly. It was a great effort by the winner.”
Melted Moments has been a very handy horse for connections after only costing $1800 earlier last year after having had one unplaced run in Victoria. To date he has won five races and been placed another seven times for just over $71,000 in prizemoney.
Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham isn’t as keen on tackling the heavy conditions at Grafton as Grills and will wait until Tuesday morning before deciding if her track specialist Backhouse Billy lines up against Melted Moments.
Backhouse Billy is unbeaten in three starts over the 1700m at Grafton. He resumed at Port Macquarie on October 7 for a fifth to Red Braids over 1512m.
“He does have a great record at Grafton but the heavy track is some concern second-up. I’ll wait and see in the morning to see how the track comes up, but I’ve also nominated him for Taree on Friday and that might be the better option,” she said.
Graham also trains Backhouse Billy’s full-sister Backhouse Frilly who is set to make her debut at Grafton on Tuesday. Grahams expects the Hinchinbrook-Dictatorial three-year-old to need a bit more time.