Five-time New South Wales champion country trainer Brett Cavanough says victory in the $200,000 Listed Grafton Districts Services Ramornie Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday would be as good as winning a first Group 1.
The Scone-based larrikin has come close to winning the race on two occasions.
In 2017, The Monstar was beaten a short-head by Calanda then in 2019 there was just a nose separating Star Boy and two-time Ramornie Handicap winner Havasay.
“I get close every second year so maybe it’s my turn,” Cavanough said.
“I’m due. Two seconds, beaten less than a half-head, and a fourth.
“It’s a race that I’d give plenty to win.
“I think it’s the elite country sprint. It means as much to us as the Wangoom does to them south of the border.
“It’s the Group 1 country sprint of the bush. It’s better than the (Wagga) Town Plate.
“I’ve won a Razor Sharp and a Group 2 Moreton Cup but I’d get more satisfaction winning this.”
Cavanough’s consistent sprinter Fender is the stable’s representative this year.
The son of Toronado comes back in distance on Wednesday after finding the 1400m of the Civic Stakes beyond him last start when sixth of nine, beaten 3½ lengths by Bandersnatch.
Brett Cavanough has twice gone close to winning the Ramornie Handicap. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Fender has been well-supported in early Ramornie Handicap betting, firming in from $14 to $8.50 with TAB fixed odds.
“The jury’s out whether gets further than 1200m in open company,” Cavanough said.
“It’s not such a bad thing if he doesn’t, I suppose.
“He’s as fit as I can have him and 1400, back to 1200m on an improving track, there’s a bit to like about him from a good draw.
“The way it played out in the Civic might prove to be a blessing in disguise.”
After Wednesday’s contest, Cavanough’s focus will switch to country racing’s richest prize – the $1.3m The Kosciuszko with Fender as well as other sprinters in his Scone stable.
“The Kosciuszko is the logical long term target for him,” he said.
“He’d have to be one of the best 14 country sprinters around.
“Going forward the plan is to keep him to the 1200m races and give him the best possible preparation for The Kosciuszko.
“The Ramornie is the perfect dress rehearsal.”
Ben Looker will partner Fender in the Ramornie Handicap on Wednesday.
Originally published asCav ‘due’ for Ramornie win after ones that got way
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