Derivative Receipt only local hope in Grafton Cup
THE Sue Birney-trained Derivative Receipt will carry local hopes in today's $160,000 Grafton Cup (2350m).
The five-year-old gelding is the only Northern Rivers' horse trained this side of the Clarence set for the region's richest race.
It will start an $11 chance after recording a two-and-a-quarter length victory in the Sequalo Handicap (1823m) in Brisbane last start.
The Grafton Cup is just Derivative Receipt's fourth start out of the Ballina stable and will see him paired with jockey Geoffrey Snowden.
But the pair face tough opposition with top jockey Danny Nikolic confident in his chance aboard $4.80 equal favourite Scattergun.
Scattergun was yesterday listed as the equal favourite with TAB Sportsbet fixed odds, along with Belmonte and Bopalula.
Nikolic has been on Scattergun at his last three starts as the Brian Smith-trained five-year-old battled strongly against good opposition during the Queensland winter carnival.
Scattergun finished fourth in the Group Three Premier's Cup (2200m) at Doomben three starts ago and followed that with a seventh of 16 to Viewed in the Group Two Brisbane Cup (2400m) on heavy going at Eagle Farm on June 9.
Scattergun put his credentials for the Grafton Cup, which was first run in 1910, on the line when he fought on tenaciously when second to Fast Future in the 2400-metre Caloundra Cup on June 28 at the Sunshine Coast.
“Scattergun has been going good against strong rivals and really he deserves a win in a race like the Grafton Cup,” Nikolic said.
“When the cards are laid on the table my horse has got as good a formline as anything in this race.
“Last start he was beaten fair and square but still beat the others convincingly.
“Brian Smith tells me the horse looks great and he seems real confident about Scattergun's chances.
“When BJ Smith has a tone of confidence about a horse then you can be sure of a big run.”
Fledgling trainer Paul Murray is another exuding confidence about his representative in the Grafton Cup, the in-form mare Bopalula.
Bopalula has won three of her past five starts including a strong effort to score by 1-1/2 lengths at Kembla Grange two starts ago over 2400 metres.
She continued her good form when beaten just a nose in the Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on July 5.