Grafton Cup’s become a stepping stone to greatness
THIS year's Grafton Cup winner Mr O'Ceirin joins some pretty classy company when he lines up on Saturday for the 2013 Caulfield Cup.
The Clarence River Jockey Club coined the catchy slogan the Springboard to Fame after Kensei won the 1987 Melbourne Cup.
Kensei, trained by Randwick's Les Bridge and ridden by Larry Olsen, won the Grafton Cup just four months prior to his victory in Australia's greatest race at Flemington in 1987.
As a Black Type event offering $160,000 prizemoney it continues to meet all clauses laid down by the Victoria Racing Club with the distance now 2350m following track modifications.
The list of minor placegetters over the same period also helps to underline the Grafton Cup's great quality, among them the noted Group winners and performers Denise's Joy, Manawapoi, Golden Khan, One Guinea, Aquidity, Oompala and Melora.
Since 2000 the Grafton Cup has boasted more high-class winners including Belus (2003) from Victoria, Pacific Dancer (2004) from Queensland and the Sydney-trained pair Stormhill (2005) and Rocking On (2006), who gave trainer Gai Waterhouse her first Grafton Cup success.
Placegetters in the last five years have also included top Group performers and feature race winners Asia, Majestically and Precise Timing.
The list of trainers and jockeys to win the Grafton Cup reads like a "who's who" of Australian racing and includes legendary jockeys Jim Pike, Darby Munro, Neville Sellwood, Billy Cook, Jack Thompson, Ted Bartle and Maurice McCarten.
GRAFTON CUP - SPRINGBOARD TO FAME
Kensei is not the notable Group One winner to feature in Grafton Cup results.
Other than Kensei, Grafton Cup winners since 1970 include:
- 1971 What's Brewing (won 1969 Moonee Valley Cup)
- 1975 Wave King (won 1975 Liston Stakes; 1976 Feehan Stakes; 1977 Memsie Stakes)
- 1984 Riverdale (won 1984 Epsom Handicap; 1984 Ampol Stakes)
- 1986 Les' Choice (won 1986 Doomben Cup)
- 1989 Shuzohra (won 1990 Brisbane Cup)
- 1992 Cross Swords (won 1994 Sydney Cup)
- 1993 Abstraction (won 1989 Doomben Cup)
- 1994-95 Oppressor (1995 Toorak Handicap)
- 1996 Praise Indeed (won 1998 Brisbane Cup)