Monday, 9 July 2012
: Star apprentice Tim Bell hopes to make the perfect graduation to the senior ranks at this week's Grafton Cup carnival.
| Tim Bell|
Photo by Racing and Sports
Bell has the opportunity to land the feature double at the carnival with in form mounts in the $150,000 WHK Ramornie Handicap on Wednesday and the $150,000 Maclean Bowling Club Grafton Cup on Thursday.
Bell, 19, is due to finish his apprenticeship this week after riding more than 300 winners.
The former Tamworth rider is now based in Brisbane where his career has blossomed, capped by his recent winter carnival win on Celtic Dancer in the G2 QTC Cup.
His Ramornie ride is the Sunshine Coast-trained River Lad
, a last start winner of the G3 Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm, a race with a strong connection to the Grafton sprint.
He also has picked up the ride on last Thursday's Cup Prelude winner Blinkin Easy
in the Grafton Cup for New England trainer Ruth Cooper.
Bell has been tempted to link with leading Sydney stables during his apprenticeship but says he is now happy to be based in Queensland and has bought a house at the Gold Coast.
"I'd love to have a fulltime crack at Sydney and Melbourne and maybe later overseas but for the moment I'm happy riding in Brisbane,” Bell said.
Bell has had only one previous ride in The Ramornie, finishing unplaced last year on Lifebuoy.River Lad
is trained by Natalie McCall, the daughter of veteran Brisbane trainer Ray McCall, and looms as a big Ramornie threat after his strong first-up win in the Healy Stakes.
has come back a very good horse this campaign as his form shows and he's the right type for a Ramornie,” Bell said.
McCall has been to Grafton carnivals with her father but River Lad
will be the first runner at the showcase event in her name and expects him to test the strong field.
"We're really happy with River Lad
's progress since he won the Healy. He should be at his best for the race,” she said.
His NSW opposition will include the promising Gosford-trained sprinter Magic Cassius
and the Con Karakatsanis stablemates Riva De Lago
Magic Cassius, trained at Gosford by Angela Davies, has won five of his seven starts and will be ridden by Corey Brown.
He arrived in Grafton on Saturday with Davies counting on an inside draw to allow the sprinter to use his natural early pace to the best advantage.
"I expect him to run very well if he gets a reasonable draw," she said
Karakatsanis, fresh from three winners on Sunday's South Grafton Cup meeting, has Josh Adams booked for Riva De Lago and Brenton Avdulla for the promising Howmuchdoyouloveme, taking a big step up after winning three of his first four starts.
'They worked together on the course proper at Grafton on Friday morning. They have done really good and both are on target,” Karakatsanis said.
“The Ramornie is the race we have wanted to win for a long time. The barrier draw will be important because I cannot split them.'
Gold Coast-based Jeff Lloyd will be back from his trip to South Africa last weekend to ride in the Durban July to ride the John Thompson stablemates Prost
in the Ramornie and Shamardashing
in the Grafton Cup.
Thompson will also start Saint Encosta
in the Grafton Cup with Ryan Wiggins aboard.