Carnival blow for Shelton
By TONY WHITE
GRAFTON'S leading horse trainer, John Shelton, has been dealt a savage blow on the eve of the July Racing Carnival, losing his two top sprinters, Sircolo and Lord Nediym.
Last Saturday, Sircolo, having his final gallop before Thursday's $12,000 John Carlton Cup at Grafton, bled from both nostrils following the workout and is now automatically banned from racing for three months.
The in-form grey would have started favourite in the John Carlton Cup.
Later that day Shelton suffered a double blow when Lord Nediym was ruled out after failing to overcome an infection in his rump. Like Sircolo, the gelding will now be spelled.
"My two top sprinters gone. It's not been the best of weeks," Shelton said.
"It's a shame because both horses were going really well. Sircolo would have been a good lightweight chance in the Ramornie.
"I won't have a runner in the Grafton Cup either, but I guess that's just part of the game."
Local hopes in the John Carlton Cup (1200m), headed by topweight, Tamworth-trained The Jackal (58.5kg), now rest with In Under There and Fly Dubai.
Last year's Coffs Harbour Cup winner Concitare, Dream Walker, Meteorite, Unrased A Charm and Golden Pat are the locally-trained horses entered for Thursday's other feature race, the $12,000 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude (2200m).
Winners of the John Carlton Cup and Grafton Cup Prelude are exempt from ballot for the $125,000 Black Toyota Ramornie Handicap (July 12) and $160,000 XXXX Gold Grafton Cup (July 13) respectively.
Gate entry, courtesy of Westlawn Finance, is free to Thursday's meeting.
In Grafton Cup news, trainer Donna Logan sent talented Kiwi Ring Of Fire, the Tattersall's Cup winner, home to New Zealand after the gelding suffered bruising when nearly falling in the Caloundra Cup last Saturday.