Can Bandit steal the Ramornie?
"PRESSURE? There's no pressure. They either win or they don't."
That's how Grafton trainer Mark Lynch summed up the chances of Bandit Queen in the $150,000 Crowe Horwath Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at the Clarence River Jockey Club.
The five-year-old mare from Lynch's stable carries the hopes and expectations of Clarence locals in the Listed sprint.
The last locally-trained horse to win the event was Mother's Gift in 2000.
At $31 fixed odds, Bandit Queen is among the outsiders in the 13-horse field today.
All the attention, meanwhile, has been on Big Money, trained at Scone by Rodney Northam, who won the South Grafton Cup on Sunday with Myamira.
The four-year-old gelding's number was first out of the pot at the barrier draw on Monday and drew barrier one.
A little later the markets opened with Big Money the favourite at $3.60.
Living up to his name, the big money has rolled in, with Sportsbet firming into odds of just $2.70 yesterday.
Big Money won the $175,000 WJ Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm last start on June 21 and will again be ridden by evergreen jockey Robert Thompson.
Testarhythm ($5), Territory ($7) and the Gai Waterhouse-trained New Zealand horse Under The Sun ($8) are the other favoured runners.
As always, the $42,000 Tursa Inglis Grafton Guineas (1600m) also attracts a lot of attention on Ramornie Day, featuring a talented crop of three-year-olds.
Sweet Feet ($13), trained by Sue Grills at Tamworth, won the Grafton Guineas Prelude on June 4 to gain inclusion.
Again Northam has strong claims with Husswick ($5) the favourite while Wyong's Stephen Farley is back with Choice Larga ($9).
The first of eight races today jumps at 12.08pm, the Guineas at 3.07pm and Ramornie 3.42pm.