BENCHMARK 60 HCP: They burdened him with the grandstand but even that wasn't enough to stop Kempsey trained Thunder Set winning at Grafton yesterday.

The popular seven-year-old grey gelding, prepared by Vince Jones, carried the biggest weight to victory at Grafton since Racing NSW altered the weights system for country racing in October last year.

And he did it bravely all from the front lumping 62.5kg with Ben Looker in the saddle.

"He's a real one pacer. He just keeps whacking away," Looker said. "I thought they had us cold at the furlong (200m) but he just keeps sticking his head out."

Try as they might, Thunder Set's six rivals just couldn't bridge the gap. The gelding started at $6 and beat El Toby ($13) and Cool Water ($3.40).

The gelding, who last year was sponsored by corporate bookmaking firm Sportsbet in a lead up promotion to the 2015 Melbourne Cup, also ran a track record for the distance - 2.25.68 sec over 2365m - in the Become A CRJC Member Benchmark 60 Hcp.

"He could have done another lap and still beat them," suggested proud trainer Jones. "He's just a dead set stayer. This is only his third run back and he's going to get better.

"We've loved this horse since the day we bought him as a yearling at the Dubbo sales.

"Last year he took us on a journey to Melbourne, Sportsbet paid for his fees into the Melbourne Cup - but unfortunately he'd had enough when he got to Melbourne."

Jones paid $17,000 for the Reset gelding out of the first foal by Daylami mare, Miss Right Note. Thunder Set is actually a half-brother to five-time Group One champion racehorse and new sire sensation Pierro, Miss Right Note's second foal who was trained by Gai Waterhouse.

"Luckily we got in cheap and early," Jones laughed.

Thunder Set has recorded seven wins and nine placing's from 59 starts earning connections nearly $90,000 prizemoney.

While he has never reached the lofty heights of his famous half-brother, Thunder Set is set to continue his winning ways in coming weeks.

"He just loves his work and loves his racing," Jones added. "He's a hard horse to get a gauge on towards a race because he always works so hard.

"Even if you take him bush for five or six kilometres it's exactly the same.

"There's a race at Rosehill coming up for him and he'll get into that with only 56 kilos then there's a 2600 metre race at Gosford."

Thunder Set has already won over 3200m at Newcastle in August last year which spurned the Melbourne Cup dream.

Interestingly Jones still has him entered for the $2 million Sydney Cup during The Championships in Sydney this autumn.



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