LIVE: Rolling coverage of the 2014 Ramornie Day
4.25PM: IN A week where the raiders from far and wide descend upon Grafton looking for a share of the carnival's riches, a win by a local always raises a cheer among the crowd.
The David Campbell-trained Barley Lover held off a wall of fast finishers in the final strides to be first past the post in the final race of Ramornie Handicap day.
RACE 8 - CENTRAL COAST COOLROOMS C,G&E CLASS 2
|2nd||3||IT'S A SAGA||1.80|
4.00PM: ACCORDING to Ramornie Handicap winning trainer Rod Northam, you ain't seen nothing yet from Big Money.
The last start winner of the WJ Healy Stakes is now a winner of seven from 11 starts with a grand sum of $337,160 in prizemoney.
But Northam is adamant there is still more to come from the champion four-year-old gelding.
"He's the best horse I've had for sure," Northam said.
"He's still untapped.
"He's just a real little trier. He loves winning, that's what gets him where he is."
Big Money was solidly backed as $2.20 favourite and won by three-quarters of a length to Rocky King ($14, Tegan Harrison) with Territory ($7.50, Tye Angland) two lengths third.
The winning time was 1:08.87, just outside The Jackal's 2008 record of 1:08.02.
3.45PM: THE records keep piling up for Australia's winningest hoop Robert Thompson.
For the second time Thompson has won back-to-back Ramornie Handicaps after piloting race favourite Big Money home in the Listed event.
From the gates Thompson steered Big Money along the fence from the inside barrier to midfield.
The early pace was set by Rocky King, local hope Bandit Queen and Under The Sun.
Coming into the straight Big Money managed to get off the fence to find enough room to start a charge to chase down the early leaders, finishing ahead of Rocky King who battled manfully down the straight.
Territory travelled at the end of the field for most of the journey but flew home down the outside to finish third, still well behind Big Money.
Prior to today only one jockey in the race's history, Cecil Skeeter Kelly, had won the Ramornie back-to-back on two occasions.
Kelly scored aboard Travatore in 1955-56 and repeated the feat when he won on Blue Dart (1958) and Glanceful 1959.
Thompson won back-to-back Ramornies on The Jackal in 2007-08 and last year won a memorable renewal aboard veteran Youthful Jack for close friend, Taree trainer Ross Stitt.
Thompson won a record fifth South Grafton Cup on Sunday on Myamira and backed it up with another for Scone trainer Rod Northam.
Scone stables have dominated this year's July Carnival, with Luke Griffith also a multiple winner.
RACE 7 - CROWE HORWATH RAMORNIE HANDICAP
3.25PM: NOT long to go now until the running of the time-honoured Ramornie Handicap.
Punters have made their way to the mounting yard to get one last look at the field before he hit the track for the classic 1200m dash.
Those looking for a bet can get the following odds on the day's feature event:
$ 2.20 5-Big Money
$ 5.70 2-Testarhythm
$ 6.20 4-Territory
$ 11.50 1-Hidden Warrior
$ 14.00 7-Startsmeup
$ 16.10 8-Liesele
$ 19.50 3-Under The Sun
$ 21.30 6-Rocky King
$ 28.20 10-Villamill
$ 42.80 13-Cheval Du Feu
$ 74.80 12-Bandit Queen
$144.00 11-Jet Style
3.10PM: GRAFTON raised Brisbane glamour apprentice Tegan Harrison rode her first July Carnival feature winner on Royal Scribe in the $42,000 Tursa Inglis Grafton Guineas.
Royal Scribe ($9) jumped straight to the lead from barrier 10 and was never headed throughout the 1600 metre duration.
It tired late but held on to win by half a length from Vite Loni ($4.40, Tim Clark), Bodega Negra ($4.60) another half-length third.
"I remember a while back I rode this horse in a trial at Ballina when I was making my comeback last year," Harrison said.
"I was thrilled to get back on him in a feature race like this."
Harrison was a popular winner and was met to a warm reception when she returned to scale.
The win was truly one for local connections with the three-year-old gelding prepared by Gold Coast trainer David Kelly, who was born and raised in Grafton. The race starter was his father Rex Kelly.
RACE 6 - TURSA INGLIS GRAFTON GUINEAS BM71
3.00PM: Not long now until one of the big races of the July Racing Carnival - the Grafton Guineas.
Most punters have been looking toward favourite Vite Loni, Husswick and Bodega Negra in the betting ring.
2.40PM: BRAVE Ali has been scratched from tomorrow's GDSC Grafton Cup.
Trainer Tony Gollan said the Ipswich Cup winner has a bruised heel and didn't want to run on a firm track.
2.35PM: REGULAR July Carnival visitor Bede Murray broke his duck with Sankara Spirit in the race five, the Mark Bloomer Transport Benchmark 65 Handicap 1400m.
Murray and son Paul's Kembla Grange stables had so far missed out at this year's carnival and ran second in the previous with Life Of Reilly.
But there was no stopping Sankara Spirit ($1.90fav) who had far too much class for a small field of seven starters affected by five scratchings.
"It's good to get the monkey off the back," Murray said after his first win of the carnival.
"He's inclined to lope when he gets to the front but he has got a short, sharp sprint."
Sankara Spirit strolled the front on the turn and bolted clear, holding on by half a length from fast finishing Mucho Caliente ($14) and Road To Summer ($5.50) third.
"I popped out three deep and just started to work him into the race," winning jockey Tye Angland said.
"He was the best horse in the race and that's how I rode him."
Sankara was just six tenths outside the class record in a time of 1:23.80.
WITH DEX sport editor Bill North's second tip for race five Sankara Spirit taking the cookies after Wingara was scratched, does that mean he's five from five?
RACE 5 - MARK BLOOMER TRANSPORT BM65 HCP
|3rd||6||ROAD TO SUMMER||NTD|
2.25PM: DEX sport editor Bill North is officially no chance of tipping five from five - his hot tip Wingara has been scratched from the fifth.
2.20PM: SOME minor concerns among visiting trainers and jockeys about the state of the track at Grafton.
Rated a dead four, winning jockey in race three Glen Colless rated it "closer to good".
"It's just got that little crust on top where they have watered it," Colless said.
"It's going to cut out a little bit, but it's still firm."
After winning race four jockey Andrew Gibbons stated he "was a little concerned about the track" before taking Ambivalent around for a photo finish win.
2.00PM: A QUICK glance at today's Superform and Daily Examiner sport editor Bill North has tipped four from four so far after Ambivalent salutes in the fourth.
1.55PM: AMBIVALENT pipped Life O'Reilly in a photo finish to take out race four, the Grafton Radio Taxi Benchmark 65 Handicap 1700m.
After a series of placings in recent starts another bridesmaid finish was on the cards as Ambivalent ($4.80) looked to leave its run too late.
But its searching, wide run from the tail of the field ultimately proved perfect timing from jockey Andrew Gibbons.
"Stayed out of trouble and she was able to do what she did when she needed to," Gibbons said.
"I was a little worried Murray's (trainer Bede Murray) horse (Life Or Reilly $2.40fav)) was a little better, but (Ambivalent) come good."
Grey Assassin ($4.60) and Daymo ($19) took up the early running before New Zealand gelding Life Of Reilly led the tight bunch to the line, Ambivalent poking its nose in front on the last stride for Broadmeadow trainer Ken Lantry.
"She's probably looking for 2000 metres, but I'm trying to keep her fresh today.
"You've got to plan ahead all the time."
Ruth Cooper trained Circle of Fame ($26) was half a length away third, Man of Persia ($21) fourth.
RACE 4 - GRAFTON RADIO TAXIS BM65 HCP
|2nd||1||LIFE OF REILLY|
|3rd||9||CIRCLE OF FAME|
|4th||11||MAN OF PERSIA|
1.20PM: THERE were no surprises in race three at Grafton as Lady Jetsetter streaked away to win by four lengths in the Abbey Motor Inn Maiden Plate (1000m).
Running second to class sprinters Miss Cover Girl and and Amizade as well as a third from three previous starts, there was little to stand in the way of the Liam Birchley, Eagle Farm trained filly, odds on favourite at $1.80.
Jockey Glen Colless settled Lady Jetsetter midfield before flying through wide.
"She skipped out a touch and is still learning," Colless said. "But at least we know she's not just all speed now.
With the maiden win out of the way, Birchley was confident there's more to come from this two-year-old.
"She'll get a bit out of this," the trainer said.
"She settled well. They ran away enough for her. She just had to run on after that."
Birchley has "longshot" Liesele in the Ramornie Handicap at 3.42pm today.
RACE 3 - THE ABBEY MOTOR INN MAIDEN PLATE
|2nd||3||ONE WITH BLING||3.10|
12.50PM: Grafton Airport reached a low of -2.1 at 6.30am this morning, but the temperature has warmed to a much more bearable 19.2 at 12.30pm.
Yamba dipped to 5.9 degrees at 7am.
12.45PM: SPEEDY SQUIB wasn't concerned with starting from the widest barrier in the second race on Ramornie Day.
It was a fast start with jockey Matthew Paget taking the three year-old filly forward to be in the front runner's position and from there never relinquished the lead running away in the final furlong.
RACE 2 - SWIFT ALLIANCE@AKAROA STUD F&M CLASS 2
12.40PM: Inspectors from the Racing NSW Surveillance Unit and stewards carried out surprise stable inspections in Coffs Harbour and Grafton yesterday morning.
Full story here.
12.15PM: POLICE will be targeting alcohol related offences and antisocial behavior at this year's Grafton Racing Carnival.
Please remember that if you're asked/told to leave a licensed premises (including the races) by staff or police - you must do so.
You cannot re-enter the premises and you must move a least 50 metres away.
Police will issue $550.00 infringements for each offence - You can bet on it.
12.10PM: PUNTERS were on the money in the opening race with the two race favourites the first past the post.
He's Dreamin' has given Luke Griffith the perfect start to his day after winning the GDSC Benchmark 70 HCP (2200m).
He's Dreamin' passed the post ahead of Dusty's Felt and Tim Clark's Inner Silence.
You can read about the Scone-based trainer's Sir James Kirby Quality HCP (1000m) chance Texan Lad in tomorrow's The Daily Examiner.
RACE 1 - GRAFTON SERVICES CLUB BM70 HCP
12PM: Plenty of punters have made their way to the betting ring before the start of today's racing program.
The first race starts in under 10 minutes.
11.50AM: Ken Gentle, Fran Latrobe and Paulene McNally have been coming from Coffs Harbour for around 10 years and always start the day with a coffee and a chat in the car park before the day.
11.45AM: NOT long after Ramornie favourite Big Money was born, a venomous snake nearly ended his life.
Instead, it was his mother Lyn's Money who paid the ultimate price trying to protect her foal.
Read about Big Money's incredible story here, and vote for who you think will win the Ramornie Handicap in our poll below.
11.30AM: There's only half an hour before the first race of the day and the crowd is already flocking in to Clarence River Jockey Club.
Brush up on all you need to know about the July Racing Carnival by checking out the stories below, and picking up today's The Daily Examiner for the all the form and extensive coverage of the Carnival.
More Racing Carnival coverage:
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