Stable airs debutants
By TONY WHITE
JOHN Shelton's latest stable acquisitions ? Empire Rising, Galactical and Dugan Dan ? make their debut for the local trainer at Grafton today.
Four-year-old gelding Empire Rising, formerly trained by David Atkins in Newcastle, tackles the Jim Bean Class 2 Hcp (1600m).
Shelton came by the Canny Lad gelding through stable associate, former trainer Kevin Burns.
"Kevin used to train for one of the owners," Shelton said yesterday. "Empire Rising took a while to win his maiden but he's a lovely, big horse and moves nicely.
"I've only had him for two weeks but hopefully he can pick up a cheque tomorrow."
Empire Rising was a last-start winner of a 1700m maiden at Port Macquarie on November 11.
Shelton said Galactical's chances in the Yellowtail Wine Class 2 Hcp (1000m) were diminished after drawing the outside barrier (9).
"He's going to find it hard from out there," Shelton said. "He's probably better suited from 1200m to 1400 metres and the barrier hasn't helped."
Galactical is a well-bred four-year-old gelding by Zeditave out of the Star Way mare, Galaxy Flyer.
"Neville Stewart on the Gold Coast used to have him and I was
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recommended through one of the owners," Shelton said. "I got him earlier in the year and spelled him. He's done everything right and I'm pretty sure he will win races, but it won't be easy tomorrow."
Galactical, a winner of two from 11 starts, hasn't raced since finishing 10th at Eagle Farm on July 9.
Dugan Dan has been prepared in Moree recently after earlier being with now retired trainer Clive Dickson in Grafton.
The six-year-old gelding was a last start winner of an open handicap at Moree on November 1 and tackles the Clarence Liquor Open (1100m).
"I've freshened him up but he'll get back and likely to need the run," Shelton said. "A race like the Christmas Cup (December 4) over 1600 metres will be more to his liking."
The three horses will be ridden by Stephen Traecey.
Shelton will also saddle up Roman Dan, Ebony Prince and Quiet Gift (Race 4) and Our Royal Star in Race 7.