Graham holds on Billy call after deluge

SPEED TO BURN: Backhouse Billy (centre) flies ahead of the pack to win his last start at Grafton in a Class 3 Handicap in February.
SPEED TO BURN: Backhouse Billy (centre) flies ahead of the pack to win his last start at Grafton in a Class 3 Handicap in February. Bruce Thomas

BMK 65 HCP: Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham will weigh up Backhouse Billy's excellent Grafton record against the prospect of a heavy track before deciding if the gelding lines up at the Clarence River Jockey Club's meeting today.

Backhouse Billy is set to run in the Become A CRJC Member Benchmark 65 Hcp (2210m) but the likelihood of a heavy 8 rating has Graham in two minds.

"He has a terrific record at Grafton and although he gets through soft ground okay, I do prefer him on a good track,” Graham said.

"I've also nominated him for Armidale (next Monday) as a precaution. The weather's actually mucked up my plans for a few of my runners this week and I'll just have to wait and see over the next day or two to decide on where mine go.”

Graham had also accepted with Gold Torque and I Wanna Be A Jeep in the final race at Grafton on Thursday.

While both runners were a likely scratching midweek after accepting starts at Taree on Wednesday, the inclement weather saw the back end of that meeting abandoned, giving Graham a chance to make likely starts at Grafton today.

"(I Wanna Be A Jeep) hasn't really been tested on heavy going as yet, so there's a query with him in the ground at Grafton,” Graham said. "I'll just have to weigh things up.”

If Backhouse Billy does run at Grafton, he will be chasing his fourth win from six appearances at the track.

All three of Backhouse Billy's career wins have been at Grafton, the most recent on February 20 when he won a Class 3 Hcp (1700m) on a track rated a soft 5.

"He does love the roomy track at Grafton and I think he'll handle the step up to 2200m for the first time,” Graham said.

"I'll just have to weigh up his great record at Grafton against whether I run him in the heavy ground.”

Backhouse Billy did okay at his one previous run on a heavy 8 track, finishing a close third over 2030m at Taree last August. He has a win and three placings from six starts in soft ground.

Matt McGuren was booked to reunite with the four-year-old after success on his only previous ride with the horse, but racing commitments on the Gold Coast has McGuren out of the Grafton meeting and Graham scratching for an alternative jockey to take Billy's reins.