Ornate's in it to win it
CLASS 1 HCP: August was a quiet month for Grafton trainer Todd Fletcher and his stable comprising of six horses.
Taking a break after the July Carnival at the Clarence River Jockey Club, Fletcher made his return to the track with four-year old chestnut mare Ornate, who picked up an impressive third place finish in the 1206m Class 1 Handicap on September 10.
Let up for nine weeks after a slow run through June and July, this horse returns today for the Village Green Hotel Class 1 Handicap 1120m, which may be very well suited for the runner.
Going up against some strong horses, including Michael Costa's Kingly, the Donna Grisedale-trained Tiomo and the Barry Ratcliff-trained First Time Lucky among some other top runners, Ornate will have her work cut out for her on the final race of the day.
While barrier seven may be a difficult starting point, jockey Kasie Stanley should look to move into the middle of the pack and have a good chance at taking Ornate well down the stretch.
Fletcher will also have another runner today in five-year-old chestnut gelding Midweek Hussler, who will race in the Ride Like a Girl Premieres This Week Class 2 Handicap (1120m).
This will be the horse's first race since a seventh-place finish at Coffs Harbour back in late February but the gelding's last race in Grafton was a solid second-place finish in a Benchmark 58 on February 7.
The key factor in this horse's success is a good start and a soft track and today we will see the latter as the Clarence River Jockey Club has received some much-needed rain in the week leading into race day.
Stanley will again take the reigns for Fletcher's runner in race six and she will be after a result following a difficult month, with her last victory coming on Alan Ryan's Redwolf in Lismore on August 26.
Fletcher may not be a favourite in either of his races today but he has the ability within his stable to make an impact and with some horses returning, this could just be his day.
RACE DAY: Midweek Hussler will line up from barrier seven for the Class 2 Handicap at the Clarence River Jockey Club at 4.40pm today before Ornate goes in the Class 1 Handicap at 5.15pm.