Grafton Cup favourite Stormhill with stable foreman Brad Herne yesterday.
Grafton Cup favourite Stormhill with stable foreman Brad Herne yesterday.

Verb is the word

By Tony White

An enduring 40-year partnership between Sydney car dealer Wally Truscott and Rosehill trainer Jack Denham will be further cemented if Verb can win the $175,000 XXXX Gold Grafton Cup (2400m) today.

Truscott and recent Racing Hall Of Fame inductee Denham have shared in numerous big race wins with horses of the calibre of Ricochet, Natski, Vaindarra, Zabarra and Fickle Hostess.

Imported galloper Natski became part of racing folklore when he finished runner-up after staging a thrilling duel with giant New Zealand mare Empire Rose in the 1988 Melbourne Cup.

The partnership came to prominence in 1970 when Todman galloper Ricochet took out the Group One Epsom of that year.

Ricochet went on to win 18 races including a Warwick Stakes and also finished runner-up in three other Group One races ? the George Main Stakes, Railway Quality and Stradbroke Hcp in Queensland.

Bred by Parramatta-based Truscott, Ricochet was one of the best gallopers of his era.

Vain filly Vaindarra, the winner of 10 races and runner-up to Marscay in the 1982 Golden Slipper, is from the same family as Ricochet and the mare has subsequently proved a major source of winners at stud.

The breeding of five-year-old Zabeel gelding Verb also traces back to the same family as Ricochet and Vaindarra.

Verb's dam Darra Princess, by Vain, is from a half sister to Vaindarra.

Denham, the taciturn trainer who won the 1990-91 Sydney trainers' premiership, has patiently developed Verb into a classy stayer.

And it's worth noting Verb has a win and third (past two starts) at his only two attempts over the 2400m.

The gelding will be ridden by 13-times Group One winning rid- er Danny Beasley, who was aboard Verb winning the Winter Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill last start on July 2.

"This horse has just got better with age," Beasley said.

"Jack has just taken his time with him and is now reaping the rewards.

Beasley was really taken with Verb's win in the Winter Cup when he mowed down leader Grafton Cup rival Happy Ivor to win in the shadows of the post.

"He was the only horse left standing after having to chase the leader and do it tough," Beasley said.

"The others didn't go on in that race."

Tim Martin's promising threeyear-old Stormhill holds favourit- ism for the Group Three Cup and was very popular with punters at the Call of the Card held at Grafton District Services Club on Tuesday night.

Bookmakers had the last start Sydney winner a clear cut $4.20 favourite.

Stormhill will be ridden by champion Sydney jockey Chris Munce.



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