Trainer Donna Grisedale hopes natural early speed can land a debut win for her son of Bel Esprit.
A wide barrier is all that stands in the way of a debut win and an instant profit for Donna Grisedale’s bargain basement buy Bow in the Chinese New Year Maiden Handicap (1006m).
A son of Black Caviar’s sire, Bel Esprit, Bow (pronounced as in to tie a bow), could not have been any more impressive or empathic winning a 946m trial at Grafton back in mid-August.
“The penny still hasn’t dropped with him,” Grisedale explained. “There’s not a lot going on upstairs at the moment. He is just running on natural ability.
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“The barrier draw is his biggest concern but the gate speed that he showed in his jumpouts and in his trial should have him in a forward position.
“I am certainly not going to ride him quiet from that draw. He will push on and hopefully be in at least a generally good position.
“He has shown me a fair bit of ability in the jumpouts so I expect him to run well.”
Bow may only need sixty seconds to put himself, and his owners, in the black given that first prize is $12,280 – almost $3,000 above what Grisedale forked out to buy the Queensland-bred (then) colt at the 2020 Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
Bow’s most dangerous rival in the opener could well be his stablemate, Shadow Snow, who sent out all the right signs when an unhurried third in her December 30 trial at Coffs Harbour.
“We didn’t ask her to do a lot, I just wanted to get her passed (to race) and educate her,” Grisedale said.
“She surprised me a little bit; I was very impressed with her trial
“You can’t beat race experience and she will benefit from it but she should still run well.”
Shadow Snow was bred by Sam Hayes, the grandson of the immortal Colin Hayes.
The filly’s dam, Sienna Rocks, is a half-sister to Nick Moraitis’ former bonny mare Fritz’s Princess who was ridden by Jim Cassidy beating brother Larry on Hot Danish in the 2008 edition of The Shorts.
Grisedale, meanwhile, is far from giving up on the infrequent winner, yet highly consistent mare Shirazzle as a potential visitor to Royal Randwick on April 2 for a $600,000 race.
“I am trying to get her into the Country Championships so she really needs to win to get up in the (benchmark) points to get into the Heat at Coffs Harbour,” Grisedale said.
“It’s been hard having all these washed out meetings because I am now limited with time.”
Shirazzle will be ridden on Tuesday by up-and-coming Northern Rivers apprentice, Jai Williams.
“Jai is Stephen Lee’s apprentice at Ballina. He has come a long way and has gone from 4kg to 3kg (claim) very quickly,” Grisedale said.
“Shirazzle is generally carrying over 60kg every time she goes around so Jai’s claim is nice weight relief for her.
“And she’s not a hard horse to ride. She’ll put herself in a forward position and Jai’s just got to steer her.”
PROMISING YOUNGSTER READY TO NEXT STEP TOWARDS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Andrew Parramore has thrown Andy in the deep end at Grafton but all with a view to ensuring the flashy chestnut is the first horse through to the $600,000 Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick on April 2.
Andy, who is on the verge of cult status up around the district, takes on open company for the first time in his career in the Year of The Tiger Handicap (1181m).
“He is only a three-year-old but we would like to have a runner in the Championship heat if you are lucky to get a run,” Parramore said.
“He had a really big blow after his run in Brisbane. We put him in the paddock three weeks after his last win, well, he just got away on us too much so I said to his owner Paul (Richardson) that Andy has got to have another run before we go to a 1400m.”
Coffs Harbour will host the first of the 2022 Country Championship Qualifiers on Saturday February 12.
Andy first emerged as a potential Championships contender in the late spring when he strung three wins together – all of them with Brooke Stower in the saddle.
Stower crossed into Queensland for Andy’s January 22 Doomben assignment which saw them in unfamiliar territory at the back of the pack throughout.
“On the Wednesday (when acceptances came out) we knew we were out of play because he was just going to have to go back from that outside barrier,” Parramore said.
“He had top-weight and was first-up so I was never going to jump out and have him ridden forward because he would have been planted three and four deep busting his guts.
“From the 400m to the furlong, he made nice ground and then he came to the end of his tether a little bit.
“He seems to be well in himself and he has tightened up a bit since he ran in Brisbane so we will get a better idea about him on Tuesday,” Parramore said.
Andy’s main rival in the Open Handicap is Zac Attack whose last two runs at Grafton were both thirds to Tara Jasmine in the Jacaranda Preview and again on the Jacaranda Cup.
Originally published as Grafton preview: Trainer Donna Grisedale has high hopes for bargain basement gelding