HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 Grafton Cup
Welcome to The Daily Examiner's rolling coverage of the G McMullan Contracting Grafton Cup Day!
Stay tuned for rolling coverage of the event.
RACE EIGHT: Sir James Kirby Handicap (1000 Metres)
ATTILA flew late to win the final race of Grafton Cup day in narrow but impressive fashion.
The Tamworth trained gelding, prepared by Sue Grills, made it three wins in succession when he claimed the $50,000 Sir James Kirby Handicap (1000m) with a flashing run out wide.
Jason Collett was the winning jockey and said the gelding "went bang" when asked for his effort.
After wins at Scone and the Coonamble Cannonball Attila is starting to reach the promise he has shown Sue Grills, descending on his opposition to Patriot and Another Sin into the minor placings.
"He's got a load of ability," Sue Grills said.
"Been a bit of a problem child but he's coming around now."
RACE SEVEN: G McMullan Contracting Grafton Cup (2350 Metres)
Congratulations to jockey Ben Looker and Sacred Day for winning the 2019 Grafton Cup!
RACE SIX: Village Green Hotel Association Plate - Class 6 Showcase (1200 Metres)
There are close calls and then there is the Association Plate Class 6 Showcase (1200m).
In a race that was called the closest finish of the July Carnival, Grafton trainer John Shelton' Saxophone won race six of Grafton Cup Day by the tightest of margins. MORE HERE
RACE FIVE: Northern Rivers Concrete Pumping Big Maiden Showcase Handicap (1200 Metres)
TWO Seas exploded down the centre of the Grafton track to demolish his rivals in the $45,000 Northern Rivers Concrete Pumping Big Maiden Showcase Handicap (1200m).
It was one of the most devastating finishes of the carnival, the Kembla Grange-trained filly blowing away her opposition.
Red Hot Hair Best Dressed Lady (contemporary)
Seven finalist from two very full heats.
Pant suits are a feature this year amongst classic racing fashion. Fur stolles are popular and great to see complete winter ensembles up on stage.
Runner-up: Jade Urquart
Winner: Angela Carroll wins in an all-black pant suit and fur accesssory
Village Green Best Dressed Couple
Six couples vying for the title. Lots of variety. Sparkle, floral classic, animal print, lace and more.
Winner: Sparkle. Tamworth couple take out the honours. Alena Johnson and Alex Roe.
Connor Best Dressed Gent Award
11 entrants whittled down to five finalists.
Dapper dapper dapper rules. Bowties and three piece suits, a top hat and much more. Stay tuned for a first person account from finalist and DEX journalist Jarrard Potter who made the finals.
Winner: Dr Peter Goldman straight from Royal Ascot Racecourse in his top hat, three-piece suit and tails.
Runner-up: Kurt Bloomer in classic navy three piece.
Jacqui's Shoe & Clothing Boutique Millinery Award
17 entries in this year's category. Sculptural elements abound. Big bows are making a resurgence.
Seven finalists including lots of handmade hats amongst the millinery creations including one inspired by Lady Gaga.
Nice to see some Coffs Harbour ladies competiting amongst the local contingent at the July Racing Carnival.
Runner up: Tamzin Shotbolt
Winner: Adelaide Ziestch.
RACE FOUR: NBN Springboard to Fame 2YO Showcase Plate (1200 Metres)
Moonhawk and Hiroko led into the straight in the $45,000 NBN Springboard To Fame 2YO Showcase Plate (1200m) at Grafton.
Hiroko beat off Moonhawk but then had a wall of horses coming at him. His courageous effort came unstuck only on the line when the Brett Cavanough-trained Eiger arrived to snatch the race with a nose victory.
Cavanough had felt the pain of a narrow loss the day before when Star Boy was beaten a lip by Havsay in the Ramornie.
Eiger had won on debut when winning the Silver Goblet at Dubbo and made it two from two with a crushing late burst.
"He just keeps improving," Brett Cavanough said of the son of Dream Ahead.
"We've got no grand plans with him. He's still a baby."
RACE THREE: TAB Mother's Gift (1400 Metres)
Bedtime Stories looked home when the Allan Kehoe-trained Port Macquarie filly led into and down the long Grafton straight.
However Snapchat Girl, a striking chestnut filly trained by Les Kelly at Bundall, finally saw daylight and was able to swoop.
As Havasay had done in the previous day's Ramornie, Snapchat Girl, lunged to win the $50,000 TAB Mother's Gift (1400m) in the last stride.
"I couldn't get out," jockey Anthony Allen told trainer Les Kelly and owner Les Cowell.
"I thought she was in all sorts," Les Kelly said.
It was Snapchat Girl's fifth win and she'll now head back to a Brisbane campaign.
RACE TWO: The Bidfood Class 1 Showcase Handicap (1400 Metres)
Matthew McGuren got off to strong on Grafton Cup Day with a second place finish in his opener before taking Exclusive to victory in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m) this afternoon. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE
RACE ONE: Fidelity Capital Benchmark 66 Showcase Handicape (1000 Metres)
Nosey ridden by Emily Atkinson and trained by Les Tilley holds off the field to win race one.
THE GRAFTON Cup headlines a huge day of racing at Grafton on Thursday and brings together a number of horses that impressed during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
It is Caloundra Cup winner Igraine that is a clear favourite, but there has also been some early money for Exoteric, Sopressa and He Ekscels.
Ladbrokes analyst Thomas Hackett have analysed every single runner in the field and our complete 2019 Grafton Cup tips can be found below:
Igraine is the horse to beat in the Grafton Cup. She could hardly have been more impressive in the Caloundra Cup and the field that she meets in this contest is no tougher. All of her best form has been on wet tracks and she has recorded two wins from three starts on heavy tracks, which does give her an advantage over the rest of this field. She maps to get a lovely run in transit with Robbie Fradd in the saddle and there is no reason that she can't make it back-to-back wins.
Exoteric comes into the Grafton Cup on the back of a couple of credible performances in the Brisbane Cup and Caloundra Cup. He was still soundly beaten by Igraine in the Caloundra Cup and he doesn't meet her any better at the weights for this contest. It is tough to see him turning-the-tables.
Sopressa was gallant in defeat in the Caloundra Cup and she should ensure that the race turns into a genuine staying contest. Matthew McGillivray will take her straight to the front in the early stages of this contest and there is no fitter horse in this field. She will give her rivals something to catch and she is the main danger to Igraine.
He Ekscels stamped himself as a genuine contender for the Grafton Cup with a narrow win over So You Win in the Kensei Handicap at Rosehill Gardens last start. This is a genuine step-up in quality, but he has run well in races like the Eclipse Stakes in the past and he is not outclassed in this sort of company. Daniel Griffin will have no choice but to ride him aggressively in the early stages of this contest and he could challenge Sopressa for the lead. $6 seems around the right price.
Vaucluse Bay is far from the most consistent horse in the world and he doesn't win out of turn, but he is capable of a high-rating performance on his day. It has been over a year since he won a race and his last start effort was poor, but before that he did run well in the Gold Coast Cup. It wouldn't surprise to see him run a race at $10.
HAPPY GO PLUCKY
Happy Go Plucky won the Grafton Cup Prelude last start, but this is a genuine step-up in quality. He was outclassed in the Premier's Cup during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival he probably isn't up to a race of this quality.
NO MONEY NO HONEY
This is a big step-up in quality for No Money No Honey after she was narrowly denied in a Benchmark 70 event at Randwick last start. She is a consistent stayer and she will have no issues running out the trip strongly, but the $12 currently available does seem under the odds.
I'LL MISS YOU
I'll Miss You finished at the tail of the field at Ipswich last start and it is impossible to back her in this contest off that performance. She is one of the outsiders in this field for a reason.
Sacred Day claimed a maiden race win in Australia at Doomben in June and Tony Pike has elected to throw him in the deep end in the Grafton Cup. He is one of the few horses in this field that still does have upside, but he hasn't shown anything during his racing career to date to suggest that he is capable of winning at this level.
Protest won at the Gold Coast last start, but this is a genuine step-up in class. It is tough to see where he gets from the wide barrier draw and he will definitely need some luck in running.
Loving Home hasn't won for over 12 months and he missed the placings in his past five race starts. $51 is under the odds.
Latino Lover was beaten by over eight lengths in the Grafton Cup Prelude and this race is much tougher. He is one of the extreme outsiders for a reason.
Uber Cougar is another galloper that comes off a fairly flat effort in the Grafton Cup Prelude. She has never shown anything to suggest that she is capable of winning at this level.
Missy Musketeer has recorded only one win from her 23 race starts and it is tough to see her getting that second race in a race like the Grafton Cup.
VOTE: Who will win the G McMullan Contracting Grafton Cup?
This poll ended on 11 July 2019.
HE EKSCELS (NZ)
HAPPY GO PLUCKY
NO MONEY NO HONEY
I’LL MISS YOU
SACRED DAY (NZ)
UBER COUGAR (NZ)
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
WANT MORE CARNIVAL ACTION? CHECK OUT OUR JULY RACING CARNIVAL PAGE