CLOSE FINISH: Runners cross the line in the 2018 Ramornie Handicap.
CLOSE FINISH: Runners cross the line in the 2018 Ramornie Handicap. Trackside Photography

Big names among entries of July Carnival feature races

HORSES: With the July Carnival in full swing the Ramornie Handicap and Grafton Cup are just around the corner and the the two major feature events are drawing some high profile names among the entrants list.

Australia's leading trainers Chris Waller and James Cummings are among the top metropolitan stables taking aim at next week's main events.

Waller is hoping to end his Grafton Cup drought with two entries for next Thursday's $165,000 McMullan Contracting Grafton Cup (2350m), a race that has been an elusive goal for him over the last decade.

He has sent eleven horses to Grafton for the Cup since he had his first starters in the Listed race in 2009, but has come up short with just two minor placings in 2014 (second with Secessio) and 2017 (third with Montaulk).

He is set for another crack next week with the import Exoteric and consistent Vaucluse Bay, a pair currently based at his Gold Coast stable, among the nineteen nominations received on Thursday for the Grafton Cup.

Godolphin trainer James Cummings does not have a Grafton Cup entry but is set to play a lead hand across the two feature days of the carnival on Wednesday and Thursday with a total of five nominations.

They include rising sprinter Haunted in Wednesday's $165,000 Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m).

Cummings has made only one visit to the Grafton carnival since he took charge of the powerful Godolphin stable two years ago, starting the unplaced pair Badajoz and Mogador in the 2017 Ramornie won by Calanda.

His other entries for next week's carnival are the promising three-year-olds Phaistos and Waka in Wednesday's $80,000 Tursa Grafton Guineas (1600m); Soothing for Thursday's $50,000 Sir James Kirby Quality (1000m); and Handspun in the $50,000 Mother's Gift (1400m) on Thursday's program.

A number of horses will travel to Grafton today for the South Grafton Cup which will be the first major feature race of the July Carnival after Westlawn Finance Prelude Day determined the trainers who's horses would be going through to the Ramornie Handicap and Grafton Cup next week.

The qualifying horses exempt from their ballot were Malea Magic, the Bob Milligan trained horse to go through to the Ramornie Handicap and Happy Go Plucky, the John Gilmore trained five-year old gelding that will run in the Grafton Cup.



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