PARTY TIME: Owners of 100th Grafton Cup winner Mr O’ceirin (L-R) John Webb, Geoff and Lynette McLaren and Tony McGrath celebrate after the race. Photo: Adam Hourigan
PARTY TIME: Owners of 100th Grafton Cup winner Mr O’ceirin (L-R) John Webb, Geoff and Lynette McLaren and Tony McGrath celebrate after the race. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Carnival back to its best

THE July Racing Carnival is back and living up to its motto as the springboard to fame after Mr O'ceirin's thrilling win in the feature event the Dougherty Constructions Grafton Cup.

Part owner of the Warrnambool-trained galloper Geoff McLaren was over the moon at winning the historic 100th running of the Cup, but added a big part of the thrill was it gave the horse an entry into this year's Caulfield Cup.

Mr McLaren said it was hard to describe the feeling of winning a race like the Grafton Cup, especially after bringing the horse all the way up here for the big event.

"To win it was just the best feeling. And to win it in such a thrilling way was special," he said.

He paid tribute to the horse's trainer, Ciaron Maher, for getting the horse up to Grafton and ready to win a race from a top-quality field, and jockey Blake Shinn for coming up with the perfect ride.

"We're (the syndicate) all from Melbourne and Western Victoria, so to get the horse here, prepare it and then win is very special."

The feelings of the owners were echoed by Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer Michael Beattie.

"We're well and truly back," Mr Beattie said.

"We said right at the start of the carnival that we were going back to the future with this carnival. We did nothing special this time around, just identified the things Grafton did well in the past and made sure they happened this time."

He said it was wonderful the winner of the Cup has the option of going on to compete at the highest level of racing.

"It has the chance to go on and become another Kensei," he said.



PHOTOS: Out and About on Coffs Cup Day

Premium Content PHOTOS: Out and About on Coffs Cup Day

See who came out to enjoy Coffs Cup Day 2020

Police make another arrest in connection to ice drug ring

Premium Content Police make another arrest in connection to ice drug ring

Man accused involvement in drug ring uncovered in bikie death probe

Harrison helps Bellamy to $101 Cup Day winner

Premium Content Harrison helps Bellamy to $101 Cup Day winner

Coming in as an emergency Bellamy’s chances were slim to none, but that wouldn’t...