Blevic bypasses Brisbane for consecutive Grafton wins
OPEN HCP: TRAINER Ian Cook bypassed Saturday's Eagle Farm meeting with Our Blevic to give his sprinter a chance to improve on his fine record at Grafton on Monday.
Cook, based at Guyra just north of Armidale, accepted with Our Blevic in the Sprite Class 6 Hcp (1200m) at Eagle Farm but the outside draw put paid to that plan.
Our Blevic instead will run in Monday's Shamardashing Open Hcp (1200m) - the race he won at the corresponding Grafton meeting last year.
"He drew the outside barrier 15 at Eagle Farm, so that made it very tough and he'll run instead at Grafton in the same race he won last year,” Cook said.
Our Blevic's win in the race last year gave him his fourth win at the Grafton track but disaster struck a few weeks later and Cook was forced to give him a long break.
"About two weeks after his Grafton win he injured a heel and we had to give him a lengthy break to let him recover,” said Cook.
After an 11-month lay-off, Our Blevic resumed over 1006m at Grafton on January 29, running an eye-catching fourth - beaten less than a length - behind Hide The Moon, All Bar None and Splitzer in 56.96.
"The break did him a lot of good, he's come back a stronger horse and I was very pleased with his first-up run over the shorter trip,” said Cook.
"He made good ground and really found the line. He's come through that first-up run in great shape and his work since has been good. He loves the Grafton track and hopefully he can pick up another win there on Monday.”
Cook isn't too concerned by Our Blevic's second-up statistics, which look modest on paper.
"He hasn't been placed in four previous second-up starts, but I wouldn't read too much into that,” Cook said.
Our Blevic, who began his racing career with Victorian trainer Jerome Hunter, has been a handy peformer for Cook, who races the gelding with co-owner Jennifer Turnbull.
Our Blevic had his first nine starts in Victoria and was still a maiden when Cook purchased him for about $8000 in mid-2014. He has won around $70,000 in prizemoney since joining Cook's small stable.
"He's been a pretty good horse to us, winning five races. He always tries hard,” Cook said.
Our Blevic has been particulary effective at Grafton, where he rarely runs a bad race, collecting four wins and six placings from 13 starts at the track. He has two wins and a third in three starts over the Grafton 1200m.
Our Blevic will face seven rivals in Monday's race, including the Leon Davies-trained topweight Crooked Blaze, who has three wins from his five appearances at Grafton.
Ric McMahon partners Our Blevic while Matthew Paget rides Cook's other Grafton runner King Victor in the Queenstown Benchmark 55 Hcp (1400m).
The rail for Monday's nine-race program will be in the true position.