Jockey Fords flying finish
JOCKEY Jay Ford yesterday added the Elders Grafton Cup to his show reel of local victories when he steered Sydney gelding Twin Wing to victory in the classic 2350m race.
Ford first came to local prominence as a young apprentice in 2004 when he won the Ramornie Handicap on an up-and-coming performer named Takeover Target before the pair went on to achieve international fame and fortune.
Trained at Warwick Farm by Chris Waller, the seven-year-old Twin Wing upset hot favourite Ironstein, with Brisbane galloper Frozone ridden by former Coffs Harbour-based Glen Colless splitting the pair for second money.
In 2009 the gelding finished third behind Castle Heights.
The horse was rated beautifully by Ford who didn’t hesitate to claim the lead early in the race.
He made sure he still had plenty of gas left for the final surge by allowing a slight breather near the 1000m mark and while Ironstein issued a challenge as the field neared the corner, Ford waited patiently for the last run to the post.
With the favourite’s run ending, the winner fought back to score by a short head with one length between second and third in a time of 2.23.98.
It was Twin Wing’s second victory in three appearances including a win in the STC Winter Cup at Rosehill Gardens on June 5 and third on June 19 in the Stayers Cup at the same course.
Meanwhile, Brisbane sprinter Falco Star took out yesterday’s other feature, the Sir James Kirby Handicap (1000m) for trainer Liam Birchley and rider Stathi Katsidis.
Runner-up Goldam, having her first start from trainer Gayna Williams’ new Clarence River establishment almost changed the run of outs being experienced by Northern Rivers stables during the carnival but the mare’s condition gave out over the latter stages.
The festival winds up next Sunday with the Maclean Cup meeting.