BLUES BREWS & BBQ'S IS ON MAIDEN HANDICAP Tips (Race 4)
Grafton Best Bet - Race 4 No. 1 Marshall Dillon
While he wasn't able to breakthrough in three attempts, this son of Shooting To Win was competitive throughout his entire first racing preparation and does bring best the exposed form in this 1000m field (multiple winners have come out of all races).
Following an eye-catching trial at Grafton, Marshall Dillon was sent out as odds-on favourite prior to his June 20 debut attempt at Casino where he was still a little green when chasing and as a result the blinkers went on for start two, but he had to settle for third once again when outsprinted by Toto.
That winner did place behind a smart It's Me first-up last spring before going back-to-back on the country circuit and off a January 23 trial win when getting the better of two city class gallopers in Queen Kay and Igor, this gelding can strike fresh in what isn't a strong Maiden.
BLUES BREWS & BBQ'S 14 MARCH F&M CLASS 1 HANDICAP Tips (Race 7)
Grafton Next Best Bet - Race 7 No. 2 Tara Jasmine
Local trainer John Shelton has prepared six winners at Grafton (20.7% strike rate) this season and among a strong set of six gallopers that he's accepted with for February 2, this filly arguably is the pick of them.
Although she benefitted from a nice run, the three-year-old was still able to take advantage and sprint away strongly for a two-length victory via her October 20 debut here, beating six subsequent winners in the process and started a $1.18 favourite at Lismore for her second outing.
Tara Jasmine wasn't able to reel in the leader and didn't come back under the rider to settle sufficiently off the speed (may of had enough?), but has been given time to mature and although drawn out, does have tactical versatility along with a bit of class over most of these.
GRAFTON HORSE OF THE YEAR DINNER 6 MARCH BENCHMARK 58 HANDICAP Tips (Race 8)
Grafton Value Bet - Race 8 No. 10 Resplendence
This ex-Victorian is now in her second preparation for trainer Robert Agnew and can improve off the first-up attempt at Tuncurry where the late betting drift ($3.80-$5.50) indicated that she might be in need of the run fresh (had only one trial which was five weeks earlier).
While the market did prove to be correct, Resplendence was hardly disgraced in third as the pick of the on-speed runners (other two were well beaten) with the eventual quinella coming from off the speed and this mare held a safe margin on the next runner home.
Ben Looker has ridden 11 winners at Grafton this season (25% strike rate) and he keeps the ride on the daughter of Sebring who handles any conditions and from barrier five, they can have a look for the early lead or take a trail, preferably with some cover.