Rolling coverage of the 2014 Grafton Cup
4.35PM: JOCKEY Tim Clark had already had a big day winning the feature event but a barnstorming finish by Idle Chat in the Sir James Kirby Quality Hcp (1000m) gave him a memorable double.
With a furlong remaining in the dash, Idle Chat was spotting the heavily backed pair of Texan Lad and Terra Amata four lengths and then the More Than Ready mare just went whoosh.
A withering burst saw Idle Chat finish so quickly that not only did she make up the four length gap but won moving away by a neck.
RACE 8 - SIR JAMES KIRBY QUALITY HCP
3.55PM: QUEENSTOWN wins the Grafton Cup.
The Gai Waterhouse trained mare was given an armchair ride by Jockey Tim Clark for the entire journey before pulling away from the field to win by three lengths.
The first half of the race was nothing more than dawdle with Travolta and Phrases setting the slow pace.
With a fraction more than 1000m to go, Hoylonny's rider Jason Collett had had enough of the sit and sprint plans and moved from the back of the field to the front in a matter of strides to really set the cat among the pigeons.
From there to the turn Hoylonny led Travolta, Mullet Man, Phrases and Queenstown with Noisy Ocean and Secessio a further two lengths back.
Rounding the home turn, Clark was able to steer Queenstown off the fence and into the clear three wide where the Stratum mare was quickly able to find herself on level terms with the lead pair.
With a furlong left in the race Queenstown shot to the lead and from there the rest of the field was running for second prize.
If the race had been any further than the 2350m journey, the winning margin would've been greater such was the authority of the Cup winning burst.
RACE 7 - GRAFTON DISTRICT SERVICES CLUB GRAFTON CUP
3.25PM: NOT long now until the the running of this year's Grafton Cup.
There's no shortage of punters in the betting ring hoping to back the winer of today's feature event.
The gai Waterhouse trained Queenstown is still the punter's pick but it's a wide betting race despite the favourite paying $3 on fixed odds with tab.com.au.
2014 GRAFTON DISTRICT SERVICES CLUB GRAFTON CUP
$ 3.00 9-Queenstown
$ 5.00 5-Secessio
$ 6.00 6-Hoylonny
$ 7.50 2-Travolta
$ 8.50 8-Pretty Pins
$12.00 13-Noisy Ocean
$31.00 18-Ongoing Venture
$51.00 16-Mullet Man
Who will win the 2014 Grafton Cup?
This poll ended on 10 July 2014.
Brave Ali (scratched)
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
3.20PM: JOCKEY Priscilla Schmidt is clearly in form after her second winner of the day in the Sky Racing World Mother's Gift (1400m).
Schmidt had earlier saluted aboard Slainte and piloted home Poetic Debate in the race prior to the big Cup.
With seven scratchings from the race, the Dylan Thomas filly didn't have to start from as wide a gate as first feared and Schmidt took full advantage driving the three year-old to the lead alongside pre-race favourite Magna Amica.
Try as the challengers did in the straight, there was nothing making ground on the front pair when the whips got cracking.
De Crillon and Harbor Springs made late charges but it was a race in two which Poetic Debate proved too strong.
The pre-race market mover Klisstra was disappointing, settling in last place and failed to make any ground on the rest of the field.
RACE 6 - SKY RACING WORLD MOTHER'S GIFT
2.45PM: THE bookies might have got some money back off punters but those that think grey horses are lucky were cheering when Chrysolaus was first past the post in the NBN 2YO Plate.
RACE 5 - NBN 2YO PLATE
2.25PM: THE THRONG of spectators at Clarence River Jockey Club is easily the biggest of this year's Racing Carnival.
CRJC CEO Michael Beattie was checking the counters after the first race earlier today, and said the total entrants had already eclipsed yesterday's total.
"It's looking good so far so we're just hoping they keep coming in," Beattie said,
2.10PM: FOUR starts at the 1000m distance, three starts for Leon Davies, two starts at Grafton and one Grafton Cup Day win.
Slainte's win in the Central Coast Coolrooms Benchmark 60 HCP (1000m) was one to behold as the three-year-old filly overcame a wide barrier, raced ahead through middle stages and held on for a spectacular win.
Though she looked to be tiring towards the end, trainer Davies said he never had any doubt in Slainte's ability to hold on.
"It was a big ask for today but she came through well," Davies said.
"I knew she would hold on at the end. She's regularly run over the 1100m so I knew she would have enough.
"We went up 3.5kg from her last start, she was the only three-year-old filly in the field and she had a very wide barrier.
"What else can you say?"
Timothy Bell backed up his earlier win in the Mr Sales Class 1 HCP (1400m) to finish second on Lifesaver Lady, with Vanessa McLennan's Curley Mac finishing third.
RACE 4 - CENTRAL COAST COOLROOMS BM60 HCP
1.35PM: HEAVILY backed favourite Stable Surprize bounced back to form in the MR Sales Class 1 HCP (1400m) today.
Brisbane jockey Timothy Bell kept Stable Surprize ($4) in the ruck down the main straight until he found his perfect line to through to the lead.
"He never really travelled like a winner but we found the line, crept up and got through," Bell said.
"If he was chasing something he would've run straight through."
RACE 3 - MR SALES HANDICAP
1.00PM: A POOR result for the bookies with Fiercely Defiant easily winning the second event on the card.
Earlier in the day punters could've got a top fluc of $5 from the bookies for the Bede Murray-trained gelding. By the time the barriers opened, the Lonhro three year-old had been crunched into $2.80.
The withdrawal of Ciaron Maher's Mr O'Cierin may have robbed Blake Shinn of a Grafton Cup mount but his trip to Clarence River Jockey Club will be one to remember.
Shinn expertly piloted Fiercely Defiant ($2.80) in the early stages of The Ray White Big Maiden Handicap (1200m), before steaming home to win the annual classic by two and half lengths from Perfect Star ($13) and Cane Ash ($10).
It was the first of three rides he had for trainer Bede Murray at Grafton Cup Day.
"It is disappointing not to get that ride but I planned on coming up anyway," Shinn said.
RACE 2 - RAY WHITE BIG MAIDEN HCP
12.25: IT"S been a long 663 days since the ex-Darley runner Cliques has raced but today's win made it worth the wait.
Sold to Gold Coast trainer Brenden Mackay, Cliques settled back in the small field while Vienne took up the early running on the inside of Za Knight.
Into the straight it looked like favourite Diamond Fund and Gelsomina were the two biggest threats to Vienne with runs down the outside but it was the Commands mare Cliques which scored at long odds after hugging the rail around the bend before finding a gap one off the fence in the final furlong to pounce.
RACE 1 - oOh! MEDIA HANDICAP
12.10PM: JOCKEY Brenton Avdulla is fuming he's missed his ride in the opening race of the program.
Avdulla was booked to ride on favourite Diamond Fund but the plane from Sydney to Grafton arrived about 45 minutes late.
When Avdulla did arrive, he was already changed into his riding silks and boots so obviously changed in the car from the airport to the racetrack.
Grafton Guineas winner Tegan Harrison picked up the ride on Diamond Fund.
NOON: The late scratching of Garud from this afternoon's Grafton Cup has tightened up the betting market.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Queenstown remains the pre-race favourite with the punters with the Stratum mare tightening a fraction to $3.50 on the tab.com.au fixed odds market.
Chris Waller's two Cup entries Secessio ($5) and Hoylonny ($6.50) are next in the betting followed by Travolta ($7), and Pretty Pins ($9.50)
11.25AM: TALK the hardness of the track is responsible for the scratchings that have slashed the fields in today's Grafton Cup has been dismissed as "scuttlebutt".
By this morning 35 horses had been scratched from the fields, including $9 Grafton Cup chance Garud, who showed signs of soreness before trackwork this morning.
Read more here.
10.30AM: There is just over two hours before the start of Grafton Cup Day and there is already a noticeable buzz in the air.
Brush up on everything Racing Carnival before making your way out to the track by clicking the links below and picking up today's The Daily Examiner.
More Racing Carnival coverage:
Ramornie Day as it happened
Hardy serves notice ahead of 2YO Plate
Noisy Ocean colours provide link with the past
Venues offer party after Grafton Cup
Grafton glamour girl gallops home to win the Guineas
Clark's keen to win for Gai Waterhouse
Timing everything for Peter Snowden
Paget had his career on track by the time he was 14
Bandit Queen the local hope for the Ramornie HCP
Ramornie Handicap favourite Big Money the chosen one
Robert Thompson wins his fifth South Grafton Cup
Grafton-born jockey Tegan Harrison eyes hometown Cup win on Brave Ali
Kimberley Cootes named Lady of the Carnival
Robert Thompson out to repeat the dose in Ramornie Handicap
Successful Brisbane jockey Bell Gai Waterhouse's pick on Travolta
Local jockey Ben Looker out until Maclean Cup after concussion