Cup and Ramornie cult favourites? final hitouts
By TONY WHITE
LOCAL Ramornie contender Starlactic will have his final gallop on the course proper at Grafton this morning in preparation for Wednesday's $125,000 Black Toyota sponsored 1200m race.
Trainer Wayne Lawson has been delighted with the four-year-old's progress since his last start second to Natural Destiny in the Group Three WJ Healey Stakes at Eagle Farm on June 24.
The electrician-hobby trainer said the gelding would work three-quarter pace from the 800m and be let down by track rider Byron Ryder over the final 300m.
"He doesn't need too much, just a little blow out," Lawson said. "The horse is really good. I couldn't be happier."
Lawson said he was satisfied with Starlactic's 56kg in the Ramornie, 3kg above the 53kg limit.
"That's pretty fair given the race and the horses around him," Lawson added.
'Nipper' is considered Grafton's major hope of winning the Ramornie although, the Felicity Firth-trained Umatrick, last year's John Carlton Cup winner, is gaining support after a sensational recent trial.
Tucabia-based Umatrick will also have his final Ramornie hit out at Grafton this morning.
Lawson said at this stage there were no nerves in the camp but he is eagerly awaiting Monday's all-important barrier draw to decide the 16-horse line up.
"I'm fine, the owners seem fine, but come Monday and Tuesday that could change," Lawson said.
"Ideally I'd like him to drawn somewhere between barrier one and seven. I don't want to draw wide.
"So far everything is perfect. I'm stoked, everything is rolling along nicely. Now we just need a good draw."