Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham will weigh up Backhouse Billy’s excellent Grafton record against the prospect of a heavy track before deciding if the gelding lines up at the Clarence River Jockey Club’s meeting on Thursday.
Backhouse Billy is set to run in the Become A CRJC Member Benchmark 65 Hcp (2210m) but the likelihood of a heavy 8 rating has Graham in two minds.
“He has a terrific record at Grafton and although he gets through soft ground okay I do prefer him on a good track,” Graham said.
“I’ve also nominated him for Armidale (next Monday) as a precaution. The weather’s actually mucked up my plans for a few of my runners this week and I’ll just have wait and see over the next day or two to decide on where mine go.”
Graham also accepted with Gold Torque and I Wanna Be A Jeep in the final race at Grafton on Thursday. Gold Torque is also an acceptor in Wednesday’s Hannam Vale Cup (1250m) at Taree and I Wanna Be A Jeep is an acceptor in the Class 1 at the same meeting.
“I Wanna Be A Jeep has drawn awkwardly at Taree and Grafton so the barrier isn’t going to sway me one way or another with him. It’ll come down to the track ratings,” she said.
“He hasn’t really been tested on heavy going as yet so there’s a query with him in the ground at Grafton. I’ll just have to weigh things up over the next day or so.”
If Backhouse Billy does run at Grafton he will be chasing his fourth win from six appearances at the track. All three of Backhouse Billy’s career wins have been at Grafton, the most recent on February 20 when he won a Class 3 Hcp (1700m) on a track rated a soft 5.
“He does love the roomy track at Grafton and I think he’ll handle the step up to 2200m for the first time,” Graham said.
“I’ll just have to weigh up his great record at Grafton against whether I run him in the heavy ground.”
Backhouse Billy did okay at his one previous run on a heavy 8 track, finishing a close third over 2030m at Taree last August. He has a win and three placings from six starts in soft ground.
Matt McGuren, successful at his one previous ride on Backhouse Billy, reunites with the four-year-old if he runs on Thursday.