By GRAHAME TIMBRELL
THE retirement from racing of Star Of Sequalo has left trainer, John Shelton, relying on what he terms his bread and butter horses to win him some feature races during the Grafton winter carnival.
And he kicks off his quest with High Octave in the Tradelink Plumbing Centres Orara Cup (1500m) at Grafton's TAB meeting today.
Shelton had been targeting the Ramornie Hcp next month with Star Of Sequalo and she was working so well in the lead up he thought she was a genuine chance to win it.
However, the mare, which had been plagued by tendon problems and had not raced since February last year, started to display problems with the tendon again and the decision was made to retire her.
High Octave's main mission during the Grafton July carnival will be the $45,000 South Grafton cup (1600m) on Sunday, July 10.
"He has run two good races since returning from a spell and Orara cup will be the first of several cup races we will target with him this preparation," Shelton said.
"I m just happy that Concitare is going to Brisbane today and not running in Grafton.
"That makes the job that much easier for my horse."
High Octave resumed with a fourth behind Omnitrader at Ballina on May 22 then ran a great race when second to Concitare over 1500 metres at Grafton on June 10.
"I thought it was a great run seeing my horse was poorly weighted against Concitare and Concitare is a genuine hope in the Grafton Cup."
After the South Grafton Cup, High Octave will be aimed at the $25,000 Maclean Cup (1400m) on the last day of the carnival, July 17.
Shelton is in line for a winning double today and his other main hope rests with Rebelette in the Decina Bathroomware Class Five (1000m).
The lightly-raced five-year-old resumed from a spell with a solid fifth behind Diamond And Ice in the Open Hcp (1000m) at Grafton on June 10, beaten only 1.8 lengths, and drops back to a class five here.
"There are a couple of nice races for her over the carnival but lets get this race out of the way first before making any sort of plan," Shelton said.
While trainer Bruce Swan will be at Eagle Farm with Concitare he has three starters at Grafton.
They are Forest Warrior (Tradelink Plumbing Centres Maiden), Diamond Harry (Rheem Hot Water Class Two (1400m) and Fly Dubai (Decina Bathroomware Class Five (1000m).
Fly Dubai, the equal top weight with Rebelette, resumes from an 11 month spell but he is a Canterbury winner and did show a touch of class earlier in his career.