At Grafton on the NSW North Coast, triple Gr1-winning stallion Husson (Hussonet-Villa Elisa, by Roy) added a black-type success when 7YO Australian-bred gelding First Crush (Husson-Loving New, by Choctaw Ridge) opened his stakes account with a strong win in the $160,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) for 3YO+, defeating Winkler & Reneged. Owned by well-known racing identity Max Whitby and purchased for $100,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Patinack Farm Dispersal, First Crush improved his record to 7 wins and 14 placings (including the Listed Ipswich Cup & Listed Caloundra Cup) from 34 starts for $354,050 in earnings. "I told Max that I would win the Grafton Cup for him. I had little plan for the horse and I'm glad it's come off today," trainer Chris Munce told Sky Racing. Munce, who won the Grafton Cup aboard Count Scenario in 1999 and Storm Hill in 2005, joined Maurice McCarten as just the second person to win a Grafton Cup as a jockey and a trainer. "It's a lot of hard work but its not just about me," Munce said, "its also about my staff who work tirelessly."
The $160,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) to be run at Grafton on the NSW North Coast today has attracted a capacity field of 16 runners plus four emergencies. The favourite for the 2018 edition of the race is the Chris Munce-trained First Crush ($3.80 fixed odds with TAB) who is coming off an excellent second to talented Kiwi stayer Megablast in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) on the Sunshine Coast. Next in the market is John Thompson-trained Reneged at $4.80, ahead of Jumbo Prince at $6 and Montauk and Anton En Avant both at $7. The Grafton Cup will be run at 4:05pm AEST.
The 2013 edition of the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita on November 1-2 will retain its existing medication policy in relation to the race day administration of Lasix (furosemide), reports thoroughbreddailynews.com. In essence, this means that while the ban will apply to 2YOs again, the Breeders' Cup committee has reneged on its agreement to end all Lasix-assisted racing for the major 2-day meeting. As an aside, the Juvenile Sprint race (introduced in 2011 and Lasix free last year) has been disbanded, after being put to a vote of the Breeders' Cup Board last Friday. Chairman Tom Ludt explained: "We recognize that there has been great divisiveness in our industry over medication rules, but joining together in the common goal of independent scientific research of the effects of race-day medications, coupled with industry pursuit of uniform rules, will move us toward eliminating such divisions… Our board feels this measure, keeping the policy in place for the Juvenile races and maintaining the 2012 policy on the remaining races, is the most practical course of action at this time." In relation to the discontinuance of the Juvenile Sprint, Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel commented: "The number of starters and overall quality of the Juvenile Sprint fields for its two runnings did not meet the standards expected for the Championships… We also believe that the Juvenile Sprint had a negative impact on field sizes for both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies."
Former Toll Holdings chairman Peter Rowsthorn “is selling his thoroughbred horse racing property Wadham Park Nagambie in central Victoria,” reported The Australian Financial Review. The move “comes after Queensland Racing last year reneged on a deal to acquire Rowsthorn’s Gold Coast horse facility, also named Wadham Park, for $20 million”; that deal “reportedly fell over after Queensland Racing struggled to gain council approval for a planned increase in the stabling capacity from 200 horses to 800”. Wadham Park head trainer Dale Sutton said the failed transaction had “forced the Victorian sale, proceeds of which will be redirected into Wadham Park’s other facilities”. Sutton confirmed: “We will be looking to consolidate back into our 2 properties at Tylden (in central Victoria)”. Rowsthorn “has spent $35 million developing the Tylden properties, but in Nagambie he inherited substantial infrastructure improvements from previous owner Walter Alteri”. Sutton & Rowsthorn purchased Wadham Nagambie (then known as Newlands Farm) in 2007 & have since added a 1400m sand training track with starting barrier; the 180-hectare property sits on the Goulburn River & has 5 homes & 2 American-style stables to house 36 horses.