Arapaho takes out Grafton Cup

Trainer Bjorn Baker was unsure how Arapaho would perform on a drying Grafton track, but the horse showed another string to his bow with a dominant victory in the $200,000 Grafton Cup.

A scintillating winner on a heavy surface at Rosehill in May, Arapaho’s best form had been in extreme conditions, including his last start second in the Caloundra Cup.

With Grafton firming to a soft 5 on Thursday, just one rating from a good track, Baker began to get nervous about the gelding’s chances, as did punters and the horse was a betting ring drifter.

But the five-year-old proved his versatility, travelling kindly in the run before striding up to the leaders around the turn and bounding clear to give both Baker and jockey Rachel King their first win in the 2350m country showpiece.

“We were a bit worried about the track but gee, he has proved today he can do it virtually on top of the ground,” Baker’s stable representative Glen Lobb told Sky Racing.

Having her first race ride on Arapaho, King said a mid-race move by fellow jockey Jean Van Overmeire to sool Youth Spirit forward to challenge for the lead injected some pace into the race and helped her charge relax.

From there, she was confident Arapaho wouldn’t be beaten.

“He was bolting at the half-mile. I was trying to be as patient as possible but I knew he was a fit horse, so I was able to press the button a bit earlier than ideal,” King said.

“I was pretty confident, the way he was travelling, that he was going to really let down. It was going to take something to sprint pretty good to try to run him down from there.”

Arapaho ($4.40) was a comfortable 2-1/2 length victor over Rebel Rama ($11), who raced handy throughout, with Dr Drill ($3.80 fav) running his usual honest race for third.

Youth Spirit ($4.60) tired to finish eighth, while backmarker Berdibek ($6) was well supported late in betting but was unsuited by the slow tempo, making some headway from last to finish sixth.

About RS NewsWire

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