BACK IN ACTION: Alan Ryan-trained Redwolf is back racing in Grafton after a 16-month spell.
BACK IN ACTION: Alan Ryan-trained Redwolf is back racing in Grafton after a 16-month spell. Jarrard Potter

Redwolf on the prowl in festive feature

RACING: A recent return to form for star gelding Redwolf has Grafton trainer Alan Ryan excited at the opportunity of running in the Scott Jones Christmas Cup at Lismore Turf Club today.

The open company feature is named after the club's secretary manager Scott Jones, who is battling in hospital after he was severely burned in a gas explosion at the club last month. Today's races mark the first day horses have returned to the track since the incident on November 21.

Ryan will be joined by fellow Grafton trainer Andy Parramore, who has veteran gelding Power Receiver accepted in the Cup.

"It was only a spur of the moment decision to go in this race,” Ryan said. "He has been carrying big weights in the benchmark races he's been running in.

"I thought this might be an opportunity to get some weight off him, get him at the right distance and a track that suits his style.”

Piloted by apprentice jockey Carla Dougherty, Redwolf led the field over the mile at Ballina last start before being pipped in the shadow of the post.

He will come back 200m in length for the Christmas Cup which should weigh heavily in the former NRRA Country Championships qualifier winner's favour.

"The mile is the furthest he has been and I think he was found wanting in that final 100m or so,” Ryan said.

"It seems to suit frontrunners at Lismore, and this bloke loves getting out the gates quickly and up on the pace. There will be a little bit more pace on in this race with Power Receiver and She Tells Lies but we will deal with that on the day.”

Grafton apprentice Olivia Pickering will take the reins and with her three kilo claim it sees the horse carry only 51kg out of barrier 11.

Pickering piloted the gelding to back-to-back placings at Ballina last month and Ryan said he was confident she could produce the run of the race.

"We have drawn badly again so we might not get the run up on the speed, but if we can sit back on the pace, he is good enough to make a move in the final straight,” he said.

Lismore Turf Club kicks off an eight-race program at 1.10pm today.

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