Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Grafton Cup Preview -- Your Guide to the Big Race

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Grafton Cup Preview -- Your Guide to the Big Race

Article excerpt

Byline: Thomas Hackett Ladbrokes

THE Grafton Cup brings together a number of horses that impressed during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.

Caloundra Cup winner Igraine is a clear favourite, but there has also been some early money for Exoteric, Sopressa and He Ekscels.

IGRAINE: The horse to beat. She could hardly have been more impressive in the Caloundra Cup and the field she meets in this contest is no tougher. All her best form is on wet tracks, which does give her an advantage over the rest of this field. She maps to get a lovely run in transit with Robbie Fradd in the saddle and there is no reason she can't make it back-to-back wins.

EXOTERIC: Comes into the Grafton Cup on the back of credible performances in the Brisbane and Caloundra cups. He was still soundly beaten by Igraine in the Caloundra Cup and doesn't meet her any better at the weights for this contest. It is tough to see him turning the tables.

SOPRESSA: Was gallant in defeat in the Caloundra Cup and she should ensure the race turns into a genuine staying contest. Matthew McGillivray will take her straight to the front in the early stages and there is no fitter horse in this field. She will give her rivals something to catch and is the main danger to Igraine.

HE EKSCELS: Stamped himself as a genuine contender with a narrow win over So You Win in the Kensei Handicap at Rosehill Gardens last start. This is a genuine step-up in quality, but he has run well in races like the Eclipse Stakes in the past and is not outclassed in this sort of company. Daniel Griffin will have no choice but to ride him aggressively in the early stages and could challenge Sopressa for the lead.

VAUCLUSE BAY: Far from the most consistent horse in the world and he doesn't win out of turn, but is capable of a high-rating performance on his day. It has been over a year since he won a race and his last start effort was poor, but before that he did run well in the Gold Coast Cup. …

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