CUP COUP: Queenstown (Tim Clark) claims the Grafton Cup ahead of Secessio, second, and Noisy Ocean (third). PHOTO: LEIGH JENSEN
CUP COUP: Queenstown (Tim Clark) claims the Grafton Cup ahead of Secessio, second, and Noisy Ocean (third). PHOTO: LEIGH JENSEN

Gai's Cup triumph at Grafton

GAI Waterhouse's stable foreman, Des Fischer, described racing's first lady as "freakish" after Queenstown gave the champion Sydney trainer her second win in the $150,000 GDSC Grafton Cup (2350m) yesterday.

"Gai set her for this race. She's freakish at getting them right on the day," Fischer said. "The mare was very well ridden."

Waterhouse's previous Grafton Cup winner was Rocking On in 2006.

It was also a triumph for 27-year-old jockey Tim Clark, who was born in Young and did his apprenticeship at Leeton in the state's south west.

Clark, who rides out of Sydney now, is no stranger to country carnivals. Yesterday was his first ride in a Grafton Cup but he finished runner-up on Captain Bax in the 2008 Ramornie.

He admitted he "tracked" Queenstown's stablemate, Travolta, throughout the feature staying event.

Travolta eventually finished fourth.

"It got a bit argy bargy going out of the straight the first time," Clark admitted. "I didn't want to get pushed back on the rails.

"I stayed on Travolta everywhere he went, stalked him. He took me into the race. When my mare got clear, she sprinted very quickly.

"It's great to come back to Grafton, one of the biggest country carnivals. There's been a good buzz around the city all week and on the track today. Queenstown is a pretty good mare. It's great to win this race and great to win for Gai."

It was yet another marvellous training performance to get Queenstown to win convincingly over 2350m after only two preparatory runs over 1400m and 1600m.

Waterhouse makes a habit of doing what many consider the impossible and yesterday's result was yet another fitting tribute to her prowess as a trainer.

Queenstown, a four-year-old mare by Stratum, is raced by a syndicate containing 10 members, originally syndicated by Denise Martin.

In a show of the power from the Sydney stables, the Chris Waller-trained Secessio ($6) finished second with Gold Coast-trained Noisy Ocean third.



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