Dane?s been everywhere
By GREG WHITE
BEFORE commencing his current campaign part-owner Elizabeth Minter tagged the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup the ultimate aim for current Northern Rivers Racing Association 'Horse of the Year', Famous Dane.
Trained by husband Philip, the gelding runs in today's 2400m XXXX Gold Grafton Cup (LR) after criss-crossing two states to reach peak fitness.
"He'll do some travelling," she said before heading to Sydney for the JRA Plate.
"There aren't too many suitable lead-up races around home so we'll have to take him everywhere."
After trailing the field first up at Randwick behind eventual Doomben Cup winner Above Deck, the eight-year-old ran two bold races at Rosehill over today's Cup distance before wintering in Queensland.
A fifth in the Rockhampton Cup was followed by a seventh in the Caloundra Cup behind Empyreal who he meets today on 1kg better terms and former Japanese jockey Yasushi Fujimoto has retained the ride.
Also engaged is last year's Coffs Cup winner Concitare who finished with the tailenders in the Prelude a week ago.
Local premiership winner Zac Purton has been replaced by Allan Robinson on top chance Gaze On after deciding to meet his solicitor prior to tomorrow's hearing before the NSW Racing Appeals committee.
Purton was suspended for two months following his ride on Clang Fashion at Canterbury on June 14.
Most interest today surrounds Peter McKenzie's New Zealand pair Sculptor and Empyreal.
The trainer was scathing of the 58.5kg alloted to the top weight who'll be ridden by champion kiwi Chris Johnson.
Leading female jockey Lisa Allpress has the mount on boom three-year-old Sculptor with McKenzie declaring today's race a means of qualifying the colt for next year's Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double.
Hindering his chances is drawing barrier 16.
Today's feature is due to jump at 4.05pm.
Brad Greenshields ? Verb, Le Bron, Cold Start.
Greg White ? Sculptor, Empyreal, Sir Coup.
'Sandbag' Sam ? Classic Karla, Verb, Concitare.