Mt Rainer set to storm Grafton
A SUCCESSFUL long term association between the Nivison family and Tamworth trainer Craig Martin is set to continue with Mt Rainer at Grafton tomorrow.
Martin, the brother of triumphant Rosehill trainer Tim Martin, has trained horses for the late Simon and Jill Nivison, owner of Mt Rainer, since the mid 1990s.
Mt Rainer, a lightly raced four-year-old by Filante and the first foal of Tacoma, a maiden winner previously trained by Martin, has his fourth race start in the Dale Thompson Memorial Benchmark 50 Handicap (1200m).
The race is in honour of the late Clarence River Jockey Club secretary-manager who passed away from a rare form of cancer in 2007.
Mt Rainer (58.5kg) will be ridden by 1.5kg claiming apprentice Jessica Drury.
Martin has had Mt Rainer since a yearling and after giving the gelding time to develop disaster struck at his second start when runner-up to Divine Right in a 1440m maiden at Walcha in February last year.
After racing on a very heavy track, Mt Rainer pulled up with a tendon injury in his off side front leg.
Surprisingly Martin believes the injury was a blessing in disguise.
“He was always one of those horses who was going to need time,” Martin said.
“The injury, which has fully healed, probably did him more good than harm.
“I think he’s a horse that will continue to develop, get better when he gets up to 1400 and 1600 metres.”
After a lengthy lay-off Mt Rainer looked smart scoring a first up win over 1100m at Armidale on March 22.
“Nice effort,” Martin suggested. “I was looking at running him at Tamworth next week but the Grafton race looked suitable.
“It’s (Grafton) a big track and while the barrier (11) is a bit of a concern, I think he’ll run very well.
“He’s up in class and doesn’t get much weight relief but he’s a good sized horse and capable of handling the step up.
“Down the track I think he’s going to be pretty nice racehorse.”
The Grafton July racing carnival is on Mt Rainer’s long term agenda should the son of brilliant 1996 Epsom winner continue to develop as expected.
Early markets have listed the four-year-old as $4 favourite.