Frescoes hits the line ahead of Nediym Thunder in the second event at Grafton yesterday.
Frescoes hits the line ahead of Nediym Thunder in the second event at Grafton yesterday. adam hourigan

Big day on punt at Grafton

THE Clarence River Jockey Club received an unexpected financial windfall from yesterday’s public holiday race meeting in Grafton.

While the on-track action kept punters happy, the seven-race program attracted huge interest from punters state wide.

Just over $1.4 million was wagered through TAB delighting CRJC officials, particularly chairman Bob Pavitt.

“The turnover was huge,” Pavitt confirmed.

“Being a public holiday and with no metropolitan meeting certainly helped. It’s been a great result all around, a good crowd and the free day seemed to work really well.”

With Grafton and Canberra the only NSW TAB gallop meetings, the club receives approximately six per cent of turnover – $84,000.

Pavitt tempered the result, suggesting there is a cap on profit related to prizemoney but a great result nonetheless.

Even bookmakers were smiling – well, maybe those on course – after several long-priced winners, but certainly not in the corporate sector following the win of the David Kelly-trained Flawless Choice in the Roches Family Hotel Benchmark 70 Handicap (1600m). The Redoute’s Choice mare officially started at $2.50, but plenty of smart punters, including several of the mare’s owners, took advantage of best fluctuations on offer from Northern Territory-based bagmen.

Aided by a peerless display by jockey Ben Looker, Flawless Choice scored by a long neck over Royal Reign and Sigurdardottir. Flawless Choice is now headed to Sydney.

“Great ride,” Kelly, a former champion Northern Rivers jockey commented. “I wish Ben would come up the Coast.”

Alas, Looker, back home after a stint with Gai Waterhouse, is happy ‘commuting’ at this stage of his career.

The Kilner clan – Greg and Hunter – struck wins with Mr Maturity and Silver Mountain. Two-year-old Mr Maturity, ridden stylishly by Amy White, scored an upset win in the Yamba Hotel Hardware Country Plate (1100m) and Silver Mountain winning the A Fletcher-Surveyors Benchmark 55 Hcp (1400m).

Owned and bred by building contractor Malcolm Baker and plumber Graham Duck, Mr Maturity continued a long list of winners from the mare Floreat, purchased by the pair in 1998 from Trevor Lobb, bloodstock adviser for the Ingham’s Woodlands Stud (now Darley).

And Kempsey trainer Barry Ratcliff announced long range plans for Calais Lion to tackle this year’s Ramornie after winning the Inglis Open (1200m) ridden by 25-year-old Japanese apprentice Masa Haga.



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