PUNTERS launched an early assault on the Angela Davies-trained Magic Cassius in tomorrow's $150,000 WHK Ramornie (1200m) following yesterday's barrier draw.
When TAB fixed odds markets went up the four-year-old, to be ridden by Corey Brown, was listed $3.40 favourite ahead of another promising young sprinter, the Con Karakatsanis trained-Howmuchdoyouloveme at $4.20.
"They (punters) came for Magic Cassius straight away," TAB Sportsbet spokesman Glenn Munsie said.
Bets of $2000 at $3.50, $2120 at $3 and $1500 at $2.80 quickly followed.
Because of the support Magic Cassius firmed into $2.60.
Magic Cassius drew barrier eight in the 13-horse field.
"I would love to swap barriers with Riva de Lago (two)," Davies said. "I always seem to get the visitor's draw to make my horse work a bit harder early.
"So far everything has gone according to plan. The horse is fit and well and won't be carrying condition like he was first up."
Davies planned the Ramornie for Magic Cassius 12 months ago.
"After he won a Class 1 at Gosford in good time last year I said then he might be a Ramornie horse and we've planned it since then."
Howmuchdoyouloveme came up with the inside barrier.
"Perfect, couldn't be happier," Karakatsanis said. "If he's not leading from there he'll be second in running.
"Riva de Lago ($8.50) will settle midfield."
Howmuchdoyouloveme completed his major work last Friday, galloping with Riva de Lago.
"They worked along over the final three (600m)," Karakatsanis said. "Both went great. You won't see better work that what they did.
"They finished head and head. I can't split them, other than to say Howmuchdoyouloveme is an on-pace runner who should be up out of trouble."
Howmuchdoyouloveme attracted wagers of $4000 at $4.80 and $2000 at $4.60.
The gelding's price has trimmed to $4.40.
Of other prominent runners, Healy Stakes winner River Lad ($8.50) drew barrier 10, Prost ($14) barrier seven and Youthful Jack ($12) barrier nine.
Local trainer Paddy Cunningham had a change of mind and accepted with Getyourown ($6), third in last Thursday's John Carlton.
"When I found out the race was going to fall away I decided to throw our hat in the ring," Carlton said of the mare. "We'll be in there giving it our best."
The Grafton Cup (2350m) was disappointing for the Clarence River Jockey Club, with only 11 horses accepting.
In a surprise, TAB fixed odds have installed the Ross Stitt-trained Southern Shimmer as $3 favourite, ahead of Patinack Farm galloper Shamardashing ($3.80), a Jeff Lloyd mount.
Last year's winner Warrior Within is listed as a $5.50 chance.
Our only local hope, Trading Secrets, is quoted at $23.
$150,000 Listed (2400m)Thursday 1. HUME 52. WARRIOR WITHIN 33. SHAMARDASHING 94. GAZZA GURU 65. SAINT ENCOSTA 76. SOUTHERN SHIMMER 17. DANAHERE 48. BLINKIN EASY 119. RODEO PLAYBOY 210. FRENCH GIFT 1011. TRADING SECRETS 8