Action returns to Grafton today. Pictured is last month’s race 9 winner Ceequal Star, trained by John Shelton.
Action returns to Grafton today. Pictured is last month’s race 9 winner Ceequal Star, trained by John Shelton.

Kelly in search of cup success

DAVID Kelly, one of Grafton’s favourite sons, returns to his old stomping ground today in search of winners and an early warm up to the July Racing Carnival.

The former top Northern Rivers jockey-turned Queensland-based trainer will saddle up three runners - Nediym Thunder (race two), Denmarket (race five) and Flawless Choice (race six) on the seven race program.

Chapter (race three) is a non runner.

Denmarket, who has mixed stallion duties with racing over the past two seasons, resumes in the Inglis Open Hcp (1200m).

“He didn’t come back into training that well after serving several mares and I had to put a bit of condition on him,” Kelly said. “He’s had a couple of unofficial jump outs, is forward enough to run well if he still wants to do it (race).”

Flawless Choice has strong Brisbane and Gold Coast form to recommend her.

The five-year-old Redoute’s Choice mare looks well placed over 1600m.

“She’s my best chance,” Kelly confirmed. “If she runs well she’s likely to come back for the Grafton carnival.”

Kelly said the likes of Eire Of Magic, Another Takeover and Kryptalon are all being aimed at the Ramornie and Bugsytwoshoes the South Grafton Cup.

Meanwhile, promising two-year-old Elite Ruler, who resumes at Grafton tomorrow, hails from a family littered with winners.

And if Coffs Harbour trainer, part-owner and breeder Trevor Hardy’s gut feeling is right, the gelding may turn out to be one of the best in the dynasty.

Elite Ruler and stablemate Elite And Petite, also bred and part-owned by Hardy, line up in a most interesting Yamba Home Hardware 2YO Country Plate (1100m).

The dynasty began with the mare Femme Elite who produced Elite Ted, winner of 13 races and half-brother, Elite Score who won eight times.

Other Hardy winners from the same family include Elite And Power, Gem’s Pocket Rocket and Elite Encore, the dam of Elite Ruler (by King Of Happiness).

“The family’s been pretty good to me,” Hardy said. “There have been winners galore and both Elite Ruler and Elite And Petite are continuing the tradition.”

Both horses have already won, Elite Ruler looking impressive winning at Coffs Harbour on December 29 and Elite And Petite (out of Elite Gem), winning at Grafton on November 4.

While Hardy admits there isn’t a lot between the pair in trackwork, it is Elite Ruler that excites him.

“All the boys that ride him have got a rap on him, even jockey John Keating,” Hardy revealed. “Hopefully he can live up to everyone’s expectations.

“John thinks he’s up to city class.

“I had him nominated in Brisbane over the weekend but we elected to miss the race and give him more experience at Grafton, especially without a trial under his belt.

“He’s a nice horse with scope and can run very good times without being pressured, without pushing him. I’ve clocked him and he’s capable of running times as quick as my good older horses and that’s a great sign for a two-year-old.

“Especially when I own two thirds of him,” Hardy added with a laugh.

Hardy wasn’t worried by Elite Ted drawing barrier 10 tomorrow.

“That shouldn’t stop him,” Hardy said. “Don’t worry the other filly (Elite And Petite) goes good but she’s only small and that may count against her in the long run but I just think Elite Ruler has the edge over her at this stage.

“He’s a bit underdone and there are a couple in the race that go good and who knows if there’s a smokey among the unraced division.

“But I’ve got plans to head to Brisbane with him, maybe fort the carnival. He should go very close to winning.”

“If she runs well she’s likely to come back for the Grafton carnival.”

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