By Grahame Timbrell
Melbourne bookmaker, Daniel Crimmins, has rated Grafton the best country racing carnival in Australia and says the Grafton Cup's Group Three status has to be retained.
"I field at major carnivals all over Australia and this is by far the best country carnival," Crimmins said.
"I have been coming here for years and the one constant with this carnival is it is always going to be top class.
"It has huge crowds, atmosphere, good horses in its major races and is a great betting carnival.
"The powers that be have to maintain the Group Three status for the cup.
"It is too important a race not to keep that status."
The Australian Group and Listed Races Advisory Group downgraded the cup from Group Three to Listed status, effective from 2006. The Clarence River Jockey Club has appealed the decision.
Crimmins rated the cup winner, Stormhill, as a stayer with a big future.
"We rated him two lengths superior to any other horse in the field and consequently set our market accordingly," Crimmins said.
"We did not hold a lot of money on him because of that and we won on the race."
However, Crimmins said there had been a lot of money for other runners with big bets on Happy Ivor (last), Forest Jim (eighth), Verb (seventh), Sandy Shore (12th) and Sunnah (11th).
"Happy Ivor was probably the best backed runner," Crimmins said.
"I held over $30,000 on him."
While Crimmins won on the cup, most other bookmakers said the cup result was not a good one for them.
David Dwyer said he had written some big bets on the winner, including one of $5000 to $2000, while he had also laid bets of $6,500 to $1000 Precise Timing (second) and $6,500 to $1000 Sunnah.