REIGNING CHAMP: Strapper Isabelle Chandler with 2014 Ramornie Handicap winner Big Money.
REIGNING CHAMP: Strapper Isabelle Chandler with 2014 Ramornie Handicap winner Big Money. Adam Hourigan

Big Money returning to Grafton to defend Ramornie title

THE Rodney Northam- trained Big Money is coming back to Grafton to defend his Ramornie title.

And Hall Of Fame jockey Robert Thompson has been confirmed as the five-year-old's rider.

Thompson has an opportunity to duplicate his feat in 2007-08 when he partnered the Paul St Vincent-trained The Jackal in back to back Ramornies wins.

He would also surpass CD 'Skeeter' Kelly as the winningest Ramornie jockey if Big Money saluted again. Thompson and Kelly have both won the time-honoured sprint, first run in 1910, on four occasions.

Big Money would join Credit Again (1986-87), Develope (1970-71), Trovatore (1955-56) and Cuban Song, who won four successive Ramornies between (1933-36) as back to back winners of the 1200m feature sprint.

Big Money has raced in Group One company at his past three starts.

His latest effort was a sound 3.7 lengths seventh to flying mare Srikandi in the Stradbroke (1400m) at Doomben on June 6. Srikandi confirmed the merit of the form by winning the Group One Tatts Tiara at the Gold Coast last Saturday.

"He's pulled up super after the Stradbroke," Scone-based Northam said. "I'm very happy with him.

"He's raced well in Brisbane with no luck. He's not really suited at Doomben. He's run into traffic nearly every start. He'll really appreciate getting back to Grafton with the long straight and a good galloping surface."

Northam said the gelding wouldn't trial before the $150,000 Crowe Horwath Ramornie on July 8.

"He won't trial but I might get Robert out to ride him before the Ramornie," Northam said. "It's a bit different this year. Last year he was coming off a strong win in the Healy but I think the horse has definitely improved over the past 12 months. He's run in Group One races in his past three starts and hasn't been disgraced.

"It would be lovely to win back to back Ramornies. The horse is certainly capable of doing it."

After discussions with handicappers in Sydney Northam said Big Money wouldn't receive any more weight than 59kg.

"I hope he gets less but it all depends on what accepts for the race," he added.

 

GRAFTON GUINEAS

BALLINA trainer Stephen Lee is desperate to get a run into promising three-year-old Boy Scout in readiness for the $45,000 Grafton Guineas (1600m) on July 8.

Boy Scout has accepted for the Class 1 Hcp (1200m) at Casino today and as a precaution also accepted at Doomben on Wednesday.

"I'd prefer to run at Casino but I don't want to flatten him first-up with 58.5 kilos if the track becomes too heavy," Lee suggested. "I've got to get a run into him somewhere.

"He's been plagued with bad luck. He got an infected nail in his back hoof that developed into an abscess. That set me back two weeks, buggered up the plan I had for him."



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