LISMORE CUP: Lismore Turf Club chairman Mark Oaten presents trainer Craig Martin and gelding Tavion Prince with the 2020 Lismore Cup. Photo: Alison Paterson
LISMORE CUP: Lismore Turf Club chairman Mark Oaten presents trainer Craig Martin and gelding Tavion Prince with the 2020 Lismore Cup. Photo: Alison Paterson

Tavion Prince ready for royal ride at Grafton July Carnival

TAVION Prince’s tough and testing Lismore Workers Club Lismore Cup win might be the stepping stone to a richer and more prestigious race in the Northern Rivers.

The Craig Martin-trained Tamworth gelding fought back twice to secure a wonderful win in Thursday’s $75,000 Lismore Cup (2110m).

That victory has placed the five-year-old stayer in position to launch a quest for next year’s rich $200,000 Grafton Cup.

With just 18 starts to his name, five wins and $140,560 in prizemoney he has confirmed himself as a stayer of great promise.

The way he fought back twice in Thursday’s Lismore Cup to fight off challenges from, firstly, Partnership and then secondly to pick up and beat Top Prospect in a straight-long duel, was impressive.

It highlighted his stamina and fortitude.

“He’ll run 2400 on his ear,” Craig Martin said during the lead-up to the Lismore Cup.

That was intermixed in Martin’s delight with his horse’s fifth and best career win.

It prompted him to name the Grafton Cup as his main target as he drove back to Grafton and John Shelton’s stables for the night and then continue his trip home to Tamworth early Friday morning.

“Grab a six pack at the Village Green probably,” he laughed of the local hotel after bedding down his stable star for the night.

He had floated his gelding over the Great Dividing Range on Wednesday, alone, and returned in a low key fashion that sums up his no-fuss training style.

“He’s definitely a tough horse,” Martin continued.

“That’s his third trip over the mountains this prep plus he’s had two long trips down the freeway to Sydney and Newcastle.

“So five big trips.”

He is ever mindful of the toll that can take too.

“I don’t want to flatten him,” he said of an immediate career that will be decided when he arrives home in Tamworth and talks to his local syndicate of owners.

What is definite is the 2021 Grafton Cup.

“That’s his main target, getting into a Grafton Cup,” he added.

“I’ve never had a runner in it,” he said of a race his brother Timmy Martin has won.

“Had one in a South Grafton Cup and Grafton Guineas but never the Ramornie or Grafton Cup. He’s the type of horse that could be a good chance in the Grafton Cup.”

Winning a Lismore Cup also added another milestone for Martin.

“Never had a runner there before,” he said.

“Had to get directions from Brooke (Stower) and still got lost. Ended up at the back of Bunnings,” he laughed.

The Lismore Turf Club also looked after him as well and that also made his maiden voyage to the track such an enjoyable experience.

Just where Tavion Prince heads now is up to his owners and Craig to discuss.

“It’s just good to have a tough horse who thrives on racing,” Craig said.

“He’s done plenty this prep too, won some good races for a country horse. We’ll talk about it and go from there.”



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