Wednesday, 4 July 2012
: A win by Castlemagne King in Thursday's $20,000 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude will catapult him to a start in next week's the $150,000 Grafton Cup.
The Cup Prelude and $20,000 John Carlton Cup (1200m) open the $1 million Grafton July Racing Carnival that will see five meetings run in 10 days.
Coffs Harbour trainer Basil Ryan said should his in-form six-year-old triumph in the Prelude, a start in the Clarence River Jockey Club flagship 2350m race next Thursday would become a reality.
“The Grafton Cup is a completely different race but he'll get in with 54 kilos and we'll just see how we go,” Ryan said.
“The horse is as good as gold, ready to go.”
Castlemagne King is a last start winner of the Murwillumbah Cup (2000m) on June 24.
Ryan revealed the stayer suffered a setback leading into the event.
“He was working on the smaller track at Coffs and got little pebbles between his shoe and feet,” Ryan said. “It penetrated into his heels and he was sore after his previous run at Grafton.
“He had 10 days off and only seven days work before Murwillumbah.
“He's improved a couple of lengths since then. He's going to be pretty hard to beat tomorrow.”
Castlemagne King, a $5 favourite in early assessments, was a birthday present for Ryan's wife Tracey.
He previously trained a horse named Seguista, a winner at Ipswich and Eagle Farm, who had plenty of ability but bad legs. Seguista, originally with Paul Perry, is out of the mare Plaza Athenee.
When Plaza Athenee came up for sale in Melbourne, Ryan went down and purchased her. She was carrying a four month foal which turned out to be Castlemagne King.
In the John Carlton Cup the Sue Grills-trained Usain Prince holds narrow favouritism at $4.50.
The winner of eight from 23 starts will be ridden by Andrew Gibbons who won last year's Ramornie aboard the Peter Snowden-trained Jerezana.
Last year's winner Hoist, from the Neil Godbolt yard, is rated a $13 chance.
Godbolt said punters should completely disregard the gelding's last start 10th at Newcastle when trapped wide and go on her previous two wins at Grafton and Taree.
The mare, undefeated in three starts at Grafton, is headed to a mating with Snitzel after the carnival.