Forgotten horse's chance to shine
By TONY WHITE
FORGOTTEN horse Umatrick is being set for a first up kill in the $125,000 Black Toyota Ramornie (1200m) at Grafton on July 12.
This time last year Umatrick, the Tucabia Tornado, trained by Felicity Firth and owned by local Tucabia general store owners Diana and Russell Ball, was the talk of Grafton, a cult hero, after brilliantly winning the John Carlton Cup before an unlucky 6th to King Rex in the Ramornie.
Umatrick and King Rex were among 28 entries for the $125,000 Black Toyota Ramornie Hcp (1200m) on July 12, when nominations closed yesterday.
The Clarence River Jockey Club received 26 nominations for the feature event, the $160,000 XXXX Gold Cup (2400m) on July 13. Both races are restricted to 16 runners.
Grafton will now have at least two genuine contenders for the Ramornie - Umatrick and Starlactic. Both horses have a huge following in the local area.
Firth said Umatrick, who won a trial in Grafton last week by 20 lengths, was going "better than ever.
"This is the best he's ever gone, he's flying," she said.
"Bruce (Compton) got off him after the trial and said 'all we need is a barrier'.
"We set this plan (first up) in place after last year's Ramornie. He's such a good horse fresh. He's won five times first up."
Leading trainers Robert Smerdon and Gai Waterhouse are among many top metropolitan trainers to nominate horses for the Ramornie and Grafton Cup.
Smerdon confirmed Hofmeister will tackle the Grafton Cup and will follow a similar plan to Smerdon's 2003 cup winner, Belus.
Hofmeister won over 2215m at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane winter carnival then failed to handle the wet track when unplaced behind Ring Of Fire in the Tattersall's Cup. He will have his final lead up over 1810m at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Waterhouse has nominated Fumble for the Ramornie and Rocking On for the Grafton Cup.
Queensland Derby placegetter Sculptor will join stablemate, Caloundra Cup winner Empyreal in the Grafton Cup. Last year's runner-up Precise Timing has again been nominated for the Cup.
The Ramornie has attracted a quality line up including 2003 winner Sir Breakfast, June Stakes winner Mac's Tune, Forestreno, Silk And Money, San Franfrisco, Langborghini, Panzer and Picaday.