High fives from Havasay jockey Matt McGillivray after winning the 2018 Ramornie Handicap.
High fives from Havasay jockey Matt McGillivray after winning the 2018 Ramornie Handicap. Adam Hourigan

OUR SAY: Carnival shows no signs of slowing down

WHILE a slightly damp track may keep the record times away from Grafton this week, the July Racing Carnival is showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, this year's edition of the time-honoured classic on the Australian country racing calendar is proving more popular among the racing fraternity, with horse nominations skyrocketing.

Westlawn Prelude Day's weekend move proved a masterstroke, attracting 117 starters - more than any July meeting from the past five years.

On Sunday, South Grafton Cup Day also enjoyed its biggest day in recent history with 107 starters, despite the track being downgraded to a heavy eight during the day.

The prevailing conditions have quelled the acceptances for Ramornie Handicap Day on Wednesday, which is likely to be slightly under last year's bumper field of 107 starters.

However, with 119 acceptances it could be the biggest Grafton Cup Day on the track in years. The biggest field in recent times was 103 in 2016.

But it's the recent decision by Racing NSW to increase prizemoney levels across its country carnivals that will really provide the shot in the arm.

Due to come into place from August 1, Grafton will have to wait 12 months for the $125,000 increase in prizemoney across the two major race days.

But it's cause for optimism and will no doubt be worth the wait.



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