Kirk Matheson matched Matthew McGurren’s efforts from 2019, taking Stephen Bennett-trained Exclusive to a win in the John Carlton Cup.
Kirk Matheson matched Matthew McGurren’s efforts from 2019, taking Stephen Bennett-trained Exclusive to a win in the John Carlton Cup.

Bennett earns Exclusive ride to Ramornie Handicap

EXCLUSIVE created a major headache for Casino trainer Stephen Bennett after the four-year-old gelding beat a hot field of sprinters in today’s $24,500 John Carlton Cup Quality (1215m) at Grafton.

The win earned the grey son of Written Tycoon exemption from ballot in Wednesday week’s $200,000 Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m).

Stephen Bennett was looking at this Sunday’s 1600m South Grafton Cup as a possible target.

“I said before today’s race it would decide where we go,” Stephen Bennett told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

“We’ve got two options now (Ramornie or South Grafton Cup). I’ll have a talk to the owners.”

It will be an interesting chat. It’s not every day you qualify for a start in a rich sprint like the $200,000 Ramornie but the $50,000 South Grafton Cup is also a nice race with no where the quality of sprinter that could tackle the Ramornie.

Whatever the decision Exclusive will try his heart out. He only knows one way and he does love Grafton as well.

He was having his ninth start at Grafton today and has now won five of them.

He is in a rich vein of form too, having won three of his last four starts, two of them at Grafton. His only loss in his last four starts was a close second to Vacate at Grafton on May 4.

Ballina gelding, Nothingforthepress, was a close second for Stephen Lee, with the Derek Piper-trained Our Dasha third.

The second day of the July Racing Carnival is this Sunday where the South Grafton Cup is the feature race. Winner of that 1600m South Grafton Cup is also exempt from ballot in the Grafton Cup, along with the winners of the WJ McKell Cup and Winter Cup (Rosehill), Ipswich Cup and Caloundra Cup.



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