Can Cogliere join elite South Grafton Cup company?
PORT Macquarie galloper Cogliere will join a rare group to have won two South Grafton Cups if he can maintain his excellent record at the track in Sunday's $50,000 feature.
The Marc Quinn-trained Cogliere won the South Grafton Cup (1600m) in 2018 and ran well in the race again last year in unsuitable heavy conditions when third to the Gold Coast gallopers Bodega Negra and American Diva.
The gelding won at his only other appearance at Grafton as a two-year-old back in 2016.
The South Grafton Cup was first run in 1914 and only a handful of horses have managed multiple wins in the feature - All Phast (1930-31), Beckwith (1932-33), Merry Jack (1968-69), Northern Emperor (1997-98) and, most recently, the Stephen Farley-trained Gazza Guru in 2011 and 2013.
Cogliere is coming off a last-start failure on a heavy9 over 2000m at Randwick on June 20 when he finished down the track behind the impressive import Mount Popa. The six-year-old has not won a race since his 2018 South Grafton Cup success, but his two runs prior to his latest Randwick failure suggest another win may not be far away.
He proved difficult to load in the barriers at his second-up run at Doomben on May 9, but still ran a cracking race to finish a close fourth to Tokiriki Lad in a Benchmark 80 over 1615m. He then went to Tamworth where he finished third to Manabar in the Gunnedah Cup (1600m) on May 31.
"He's come through is last run at Randwick fine," Quinn said.
"The 2000m on that heavy track last time just saw him out, but his previous runs were pretty good.
"He's really going to appreciate getting back to the bigger Grafton track and on a firmer racing surface. Anything from a good4 to a soft6 he handles pretty well. And he does get some weight relief on Sunday and drops down to 55kg.
"He's drawn out wide (barrier 14) but there's nothing we can do about that and I think he'll run very well back at Grafton again on Sunday.
"I was keen on his chances of winning a second South Grafton Cup last year, but the track went from being good to heavy in a matter of two races and that ruined his chances of winning. To run third to mudlark Bodega Negra in the heavy going last year was a pretty good effort.
"Not many have won two South Grafton Cups, so it'd be great if he could join that group by winning again on Sunday."
Cogliere's main rivals on Sunday look to be Wyong trainer Kirsten Buchanan's pair Jazzland and Brazen (2nd to Cogliere in this race in 2018), and Taree trainer Michael Byers' in-form gelding Casino Mondial.
Jazzland flopped first-up over 1200m on a heavy track at Randwick on June 20, but can bounce back in a big way stepping up to the 1600m on a firmer surface.
Wyong trainer Damien Lane has accepted with Oakfield Captain and All But Gone, but the former galloper looks more likely to run at Randwick on Saturday.
Sunday's seven-race Grafton meeting ushers in a huge week for the Clarence River Jockey Club with the $200,000 Ramornie Hcp (1200m) and $80,000 Grafton Guineas (1600m) on Wednesday and the $200,000 Grafton Cup (2350m), $75,000 Sir James Kirby Quality (1000m) and $45,000 Springboard To Fame 2YO Plate (1200m) run at Thursday's meeting.
The were 27 nominations for the Ramornie with the Matt Dunn-trained Snitz and John O'Shea's Southern Lad installed as the early $6.00 equal favourites.
There were 23 nominations for the Grafton Cup where leading trainers Chris Wallaer and Kris Lees appear to hold all the aces. Lees nominated Frankely Awesome, Sixties Groove, Chilly Cha Cha and Big Duke, while the Waller stable nominated Carzoff, The Lord Mayor, Satona Rason and Kaonic.
Sixties Groove is listed as the $5.00 Cup favourite, just ahead of Carzoff and Frankely Awesome at $6.00.