Winner shows Guineas promise
WOOLGOOLGA owner-breeder Eric Bennett was a happy chappy after the Trevor Hardy-trained Symposium stretched its winning record to five from seven at Grafton yesterday.
Hardy is eyeing the $40,000 Grafton Guineas (1600 metres) for the imposing three-year-old by Clang from Blue Valley.
But Bennett has another ace up his sleeve.
“I’ve got a yearling at home out of Blue Valley by Get Square. He’s going to win the Golden Slipper,” Bennett boldly predicted.
Symposium meanwhile carries the flag in impressive fashion.
Arriving in the final bound to win the Valley Harvest Benchmark 70 Hcp (1410 metres), the three-year-old has great scope for further improvement.
“It was a pretty big effort for a three-year-old to win against the older horses,” the astute Hardy said. “A nice horse. I just wish he could race a little closer.
“He can sometimes be his own worst enemy, getting back as far as he does, but he can find the line, that’s for sure.
“I think he might want further.
“I’ll have a talk to Eric; a race like the Grafton Guineas during the carnival would suit.
“Maybe he’ll have a little let-up and get ready for the Guineas.”
Blue Valley, now 18, had a second to champion Saintly in 1995 among her record.
“She was a champ, should have won millions,” Bennett enthused. “She got crippled after racing at Scone (1996) and was never the same.”
While the John Shelton-trained Double Honour had to settle for second behind the Ross Stitt-trained Magic Country in the Brad Hall – Painter – Benchmark 50 Hcp (1000 metres), the stable landed a $4 to $2.40 plunge with Handsome Dane, the day’s most impressive winner.
The four-year-old gelding, ridden off pace early, breezed home by 2-3/4 lengths in the Grafton Gas & Plumbing Greg Vidler Memorial Benchmark 50 Hcp (1410 metres).
Ironically Handsome Dane became the third successive locally trained horse to win the race in honour of the well-known Grafton Ghosts footballer and administrator.