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."
Awapuni galloper Henree Winkler (Rip Van Winkle-Thee Auld Hussie, by Spinning World) will make his next appearance in the Dunstan Feeds Rising Stars Final at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, reports NZ Racing Desk. The half-brother to the Gr3 winner Thee Auld Floozie has been in good form this preparation with two wins and four placings from his last seven outings. The Lisa Latta-trained 4YO will be making his second visit to Auckland, having finished fourth in last season's Gr2 Great Northern Guineas at Ellerslie.
Former Grand Lodge Thoroughbreds shuttler Distorted Humor (Forty Niner-Danzig's Beauty, by Danzig) added a US black-type success when The Nth Degree (Distorted Humor-Coastal Wave, by Dixieland Band) won the US$50,000 Listed Yankee Affair Stakes (5 furlongs on turf) at Gulfstream Park. The Nth Degree (ridden by Eddie Castro for trainer Rod Winkler) defeated Western Kind (West Acre-Shesagoodancer, by Marshua's Dancer) & Procreate (Mt Livermore-Broad Smile, by Southern Tip).