Highlights and race results from Ramornie Day 2017
A RACE record crumbled at the Clarence River Jockey Club today with Peter and Paul Snowden gelding Calanda setting a record breaking pace on its way to claiming the Ramornie Handicap glory.
The Daily Examiner was there to capture all the excitement both on and off the track.
Check out our coverage of all the races, as well as our interactive galleries and stories of fashion and celebration on the track.
Race 8 - The Village Green Hotel Benchmark 65
GLITRA arrived late and wide to snare a change of luck for his trainer in today's The Village Green Hotel Benchmark 65 Handicap (1400m) at Grafton today.
The John Sprague-trained gelding launched late to claim a narrow win from Smart Devil with Coolotta a head away third.
It was Glitra's fifth win at his 18th start for a trainer who used to ride at Grafton.
John Sprague started his racing career as a jockey riding for Glenn Hodge and Neil Godbolt and as well as preparing 13 horses at Port Macquarie dabbles in a bit of house painting as well.
"I was an ordinary jockey," he laughed.
"I'm a better trainer. Been coming here for a long time, never had much luck before."
Glitra is owned and raced by a syndicate headed by Jan Tate.
"I told her she paid too much money for him," John Sprague said.
"But he's now won three for us for four or five starts. I'll have to take that back. Jan races him with her daughters and grand daughters. They've been so good and supportive of me."
Flamboyance stands out in crowd
IN A SEA of racegoers dressed in dark winter colours, you would have to be trying extremely hard to not notice Douglas Petrisic. Decked out from head to toe in a brightly coloured, flowery suit, the racing lover was certainly difficult to miss. When finding his multi-coloured suit, there was one particular reason why this number stood out to him. "I got it from Lowes, and I got it so I don't get lost in the crowd," he said. Hailing from Newcastle, Mr Petrisic has been coming to the July Racing Carnival since he was 18-years-old. Now six years after turning 18, the avid racegoer said there are a lot of good things about going to the races, but even more good things about coming to Grafton for the July Racing Carnival. "There are friendly people, the spectacle to watch and it's the best thing in Australia," he said. "(Grafton) has a good country atmosphere, it's not like the mainstream (racecourses) like Randwick. "It's a friendly atmosphere, a great punt and there are good facilities up here." Mr Petrisic wasn't on a winning streak in the first half of Ramornie Day, but he was sticking to a few key rules he always follows when betting on races. "I've got a second, second and a protest for first," Mr Petrisic said about his bets so far. Having been in Grafton since Monday, the Mr Petrisic said he's been looking forward to one thing. "I love the big day, Grafton Cup Day," he said. As for his few tips? "If it's winter, make sure you bring a suit jacket because it gets awfully cold," he said. "And always have someone you can borrow money off."
Race 7 - Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap
Sparks were flying off the heels of Peter and Paul Snowden gelding Calanda as he blazed past the finishing post to claim Ramornie glory in race record time.
It was a line of eight that turned toward home in the $160,000 Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m) but as a small gap opened inside, jockey Jim Byrne poked his nose through and put the foot down.
A late challenge from topweight The Monstar almost pipped the Snowden gelding at the post but the three-year-old just had enough juice to hold on and win by a short head.
Race 6 - Grafton Gas and Plumbing CG&E Benchmark 55 Handicap
The Lindsay hatch-trained three-year-old gelding finished powerfully under apprentice Nicholas Keal's urging to snare a half length win from Tamworth-trained Boolaroo.
A last start maiden winner at his home track the Toowoomba gelding has had just eight starts and lived up to Lindsay Hatch's expectations.
"I thought the kid rode him really good," Lindsay Hatch said.
"He made the right decision and got to the inside.
"It was a big ask too of the horse too."
Nicholas Keal was having his first ride at Grafton too and chalked up his 30th win.
"He travelled strong on the bit," Nicholas Keal said.
"We got the split at the right time."
Lindasy Hatch has 60 horses in work at his Toowoomba stable and enjoying a good season after returning home three years ago.
"I was the stable foreman for Peter and Paul Snowden in Melbourne," he said.
"Good to be home though. It is a lot of hard work but I have a good team and built up a nice stable."
See any familiar faces?
With plenty of people enjoying a day at the races, see who was out and about in our gallery:
Race 5 - Winning Edge Presentations F&M Benchmark 55 Handicap
DAVID Kelly and Tegan Harrison returned to their home towns with the perfect combination at Grafton today.
Harrison, from Lawrence not far from Grafton, rode Miss Parkin to a length win from Whispering Wings in the Winning Edge Presentations F&M Benchmark 55 Handicap (1100m).
Kelly, who trains at the Gold Coast, hails from Grafton.
"I was born here," David Kelly said.
"Rode here as well and then moved to the Gold Coast 10 years ago."
He is "travelling well" while Harrison is fast approaching her 500th winner.
David Kelly was "a bit concerned" when All In All led by almost 10 lengths.
She had won her last start at Grafton on May1 but had not started since.
"I've always had a pretty good opinion of her," David Kelly said.
"It was a terrific come back but I was a little concerned because she hadn't raced for a while."
Celebrating birthdays in style at Ramornie Day
THREE generations stood side-by-side at the Clarence River Jockey Club celebrating a birthday with a few punts.
Beverly Morgan, Glenda and Rebekah Rogan were celebrating Rebekah's birthday in style at Ramornie Day.
"I've been going to the races since I was (small)," Beverly said.
Beverly loves coming to the races to bet on the horses.
"And hopefully getting a winner," she said. "I just got one then in Race 3."
Beverly, Glenda ad Rebekah couldn't share any tips though.
"I don't think you ever really know who is going to win," Glenda said.
"They're all different and they could look good but they don't always go good, it's a bit of a luck of the draw.
"It's just a bit of fun."
Race 4 - Tursa Inglis Bonus Grafton Guineas
SNEAKY Glance ended a long drought for Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds in today's Grafton Guineas.
The Gold Coast gelding surged home to win the $50,000 Tursa Inglis Bonus Grafton Guineas 3YO Benchmark 70 Handicap (1600m) by three quarters of a length from Sebrarian with Constantine a length and a half away third.
It was the gelding's fourth win in seven starts and his fourth in succession but will be his last for a little while.
"We'll tip him out now," Toby Edmonds said after savouring his first Guineas success.
Over the past two decades Edmonds, who started his training career at Scone and Muswellbrook, has had a "crack" at the Guineas four times.
He came close with Centover (2007) and Emvoss (2011) when they finished second to Jet Hawk and Okane.
Intrepic also finished third last year.
Winning the Guineas was another success for Toby in what has been a successful season, and he will spell Sneaky Glance.
"He's just about had enough," Toby Edmonds said.
"He's been up for a while and was fit and ready today."
He believes a good spell will have him ready to come back and win over a bit more ground in his next preparation.
"I think he'll get a mile and a quarter (2000m)."
Race 3 - Grafton Radio Taxis 66423622 Class 2 Handicap
FRISKEE One was the winning one when the Sutton mare unleashed late to run down Ballina gelding Dagga Boy and win today's Grafton Radio Taxis 66423622 Class 2 Handicap (1600m).
The four-year-old daughter of Not A Single Doubt missed the start by many metres but produced a late and powerful finish for a 0.35len victory.
Veteran jockey Tony Cavallo could not believe his luck as he poked through a tight hole to see daylight at the end of the Grafton Racecourse straight.
While a win for a jockey with three decades in the business shouldn't come as a surprise, after missing the barrier drop by almost two seconds it was almost a miracle.
"It always does happen but maybe not to that extent but I knew I couldn't panic," Cavallo said. "We just slid up behind them and got going. It wasn't as strong as it has been racing in either so we knew we just had to be there at the end.
"She is nothing to look at, you wouldn't buy it in the ring but she has plenty of ticker. Jeez it was a tough win, I knew we were back in it at the 600m, I gave it a little bit of a click and she just got going."
The win was Friskee One's third at her 12th start and might now head towards a Country Championships campaign next year, confirmed owner, trainer and breeder Neil Osborne.
Osborne, who has 18 in work at his Sutton stable (just outside Canberra), has been attending Grafton July racing carnivals for many years.
While he has 30 broodmares standing at his Main Lodge Stud he also has a horse trucking business and helped deliver horses such as Roll On By (Keith Dryden) and Cangronde (Cliff Bashford) safe and sound to Grafton for magical performances.
"She's a fantastic little mare," Neil Osborne said.
"The finish she's got is unbelievable. Just crawls out of the barriers, finds her feet and then lets go."
He admitted he thought she had no chance throughout the race but she showed again what talent she possesses and said after her next spell a Country Championship beckons.
"She will come back for the Championships," he said.
"Only had the 12 starts and is an ideal horse for that (Country Championships)."
Race 2 - Group 1 Feeds Rural Plate - Class 6 (2200m)
JOSH Adams pushed Avroson through a small gap to snare a third successive win on the Scone gelding at Grafton today.
The five-year-old gelding son of Al Maher is trained by Brett Cavanough and gave the now Scone based trainer a good start to Ramornie Handicap day when he powered away with the $30,000 Group 1 Feeds Rural Plate Class 6 (2200m).
Avroson had won his previous two starts at Dubbo and Gunnedah and was on a quick six day backup for Cavanough.
Josh Adams has built a quick and winning partnership with Cavanough as well and was at his best to bullock Avroson between runners and race away to a length and half win from Suggestapartner.
"He was far too good," Josh Adams said.
"He's gone to another level. Brett is going well and been giving me good support, putting me on some good horses."
Adams will ride The Monstar in the Ramornie for Cavanough while Avroson has now won six of his 33 starts.
"He's only a little bloke," Brett Cavanough said.
"Just got that quirky turn of foot."
Race 1 - The Abbey Motor Inn Maiden Plate (1000m)
GOLD Coast trainer Bruce Hill has kicked off Ramornie Handicap Day in the winner's circle after striking three-year-old Dubawi Sniper kicked well in the straight to win The Abbey Motor Inn Maiden Plate (1000m) at Grafton today.
Jockey Ryan Plumb rode the gelding to perfection sitting two lengths off the pace before finding a gap down the middle of the field when the heads turned for home.
He had to hold off a late challenge from a flashing Wayne Nugent-trained Blackberry while $3.20 favourite Wooditton rounded out the placings for the Stephen Lee stable at Ballina.
EARLIER: WE ARE away on Ramornie Day for 2017, and to keep you up to date with what's happening on the track we will have rolling updates on the latest results right here.
To kick things off, vote in our poll for who you think will take out today's feature race, the Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap.
Who do you think will win the Ramornie Handicap today?
This poll ended on 12 July 2017.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.