This winter spectacular takes place at Grafton Racecourse and conducted by the Clarence River Jockey Club. This Listed race is held annually at New South Wales on the east coast of Australia. It is run over 1m 3 1/2f (2350m). The racecourse hosts approximately 25 meeting a year including the Grafton Cup & Ramornie Handicap.
The two day Grafton Carnival is popular with punters and bookmakers alike and a place where big bets are taken. It will be no different this year whether betting on course or online with punters eager to take note of the Grafton Cup odds.
In fact, it is known as one of the capitals of Australian racing.
The Grafton Racecourse has a track circumference of almost 2000 metres, with a home straight 400 metres in length. It has four chutes at: 2400m, 1750m, 1200m & 1000m. This right-handed course is run on turf.
With a prize of $200,000 and a ballot exemption for the Newcastle Gold Cup there are plenty of talented stayers who have their eye on this contest. Also, it is a qualifying race for the Melbourne Cup. It’s known as ‘The Springboard To Fame’. Kensei won the Grafton Cup in 1987 before taking the Melbourne Cup in the same year.
Did you know the Grafton Cup was first run in 1910?
Aficionados will remember this race gained Listed status in 1980, then upgraded to Group 3 from 1995 – 2005, before going back to it’s formative class in 2006.
Last year’s winner  saw the French-bred Arapoha, trained by Bjorn Baker, ridden by Ms Rachel King take centre stage. The five-year-old gelding powered home by 2 ½ lengths, beating Rebel Rama, while hot favourite Dr Drill finished third, in an eleven-strong field.
The Grafton Cup attracts runners from all parts of New Zealand & Australia. Past winners are testament to the high esteem this prestigious race is held.
In fact, a number of horses have won multiple times. The pick of those being Hosier who won consecutive years from 1922 – 1924.
One horse who may well be heading to the Grafton Cup 2023 – with a live chance - is Gulf Of Tomini.
Gulf Of Tomini was foaled on the 29th August 2018. At the time of writing, this chestnut gelding is four-years-old. Sired by Not A Single Doubt out of a mare called Sebrina. He is presently trained by Cassandra Schmidt and his home track is Port Macquarie. This is located in New South Wales North Coast.
He has raced 19 times in his career, achieving at this time, four wins, runner-up on three occasions and a trio of third placed efforts. He has total prize earnings of $81,110. In fact, in his last 10 races he has shown very consistent form including four wins, and one trial victory which is not added to his tally.
Gulf Of Tomini’s most recent race [16th May] saw him win narrowly at Port Macquarie, beating Nothing’s Sacred who finished a gallant second, the pair clear of the third [Sandpiper]. Schmidt’s charge contested a handicap over 1500m in a time of 1:30.74 and won a prize purse of $27,000. His able jockey Luke Rolls was weighted to carry 62kg. This accomplished jockey has over 6000 rides and almost 600 wins in his career to date.
This year’s Grafton Cup will see a competitive field of probably 8 – 12 runners, including, with any luck, Gulf Of Tomini. For those who love a punt it could be wise to follow this chestnut gelding as he’s in form and looking to win the biggest prize of his career.
Good luck to all.
Phto: Canva (free)