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  • Provincial Racing NSW


GOSFORD trainer Jake Hull is out to further improve a near 50 per cent win record at Grafton when the July carnival begins on Sunday.

The former jockey has two runners at the first of five racedays at one of Australian racing’s great country festivals, and has called on good mate Ben Looker to partner them.

He runs Six Foot Song (pictured) in the Grafton Cup Prelude (2235m), and debutante Ferinzo in the 2YO Springboard Prelude Maiden Plate (1020m).

“Ben and myself were good mates when I was riding, and it’s great to have him on my horses whenever the opportunities arise,” Hull said on Thursday afternoon.

Understandable given Looker has been Hull’s most successful jockey, getting home eight of his 21 winners to date.

Whilst Hull rode 150 winners before turning his hand to training, Grafton was not a track he counted amongst those successes.

“I had only a handful of rides there for a couple of placings,” he said.

It’s a different story on the training front, however.

Hull has won three races (two with Olivia’s Spirit and the latest with Browned Off on June 8) from seven starters at Grafton – and no prizes for guessing who rode them!

Former South Australian gelding Six Foot Song goes to Grafton in good form having won two of his last three starts.

“Ben rode him when he won a Benchmark 66 Handicap (2100m) at Tamworth on June 21,” Hull said.

“He had 61.5kg topweight, went around them on the home turn and was too classy.”

Six Foot Song’s Prelude performance will determine further Grafton carnival plans for the five-year-old.

“If he wins the Prelude then he is automatically guaranteed a start in the Grafton Cup (2350m) in a fortnight, and you would have to give it serious consideration,” Hull said.

“Otherwise there is a Class 6 Rural Plate over the same distance the day before on the Ramornie Handicap program.”

Hull also debuts Cosmic Force youngster Ferinzo on Sunday after four trials at different preparations.

A $190,000 Magic Millions yearling purchase last year, Ferinzo won his latest trial over 845m at Wyong on June 18, and his trainer says he is a “nice two-year-old”.

Wyong trainer Kristen Buchanan also will be represented in Sunday’s Prelude with Gulf Of Tomini, whose three of six career wins have been at Grafton.

She has called upon Taylor Marshall to ride Gulf Of Tomini, having been aboard him when runner-up in a Benchmark 68 Handicap (1800m) at Eagle Farm in March.

Buchanan wasn’t the gelding’s trainer when he was third in last year’s Cup Prelude, but is no stranger to feature success at Grafton, having won the 2020 South Grafton Cup (1600m) with Jazzland (Koby Jennings).

The now retired Jazzland also was runner-up to Happy Go Plucky in the Grafton Cup Prelude a year earlier, when ridden by Ben Looker.

Buchanan also accepted with Delexo (Marshall) for Sunday’s John Carlton Cup Quality (1195m) and also Cecil Street Lad, but had not declared a rider on Thursday afternoon.

Delexo (Zac Lloyd) is also an acceptor for the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday, but drew the outside in a field of 13.

Buchanan intended studying the fields and track conditions before deciding which way to go.

She is keen to chase another city victory with talented two-year-old Winning Proposal at Randwick provided the track does not become very heavy.

“She came through her latest midweek win at Warwick Farm really well, and Nash Rawiller was happy to stick with her,” Buchanan said.

“Winning Proposal is up against the boys this time rather than her own sex, and has the same weight (59kg).

“But I wouldn’t run her if the track was a bog.”

Fellow Wyong trainer Tracey Bartley has opted for Randwick with dual venue acceptor Mabel, who has been withdrawn from the Class 6 Plate (1000m) at the Sunshine Coast metropolitan meeting, where she drew awkwardly.

Mabel will contest the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m) at Randwick against her own sex, and 3kg claimer Chelsea Hillier lessens her weight to 57.5kg.

Story John Curtis, July 4, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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