Jefferson Park earns a Walcha Cup start

JEFFERSON Park might be on track to emulate his half brother when he led all the way to win yesterday’s $15,000 Armidale Real Estate Agents Walcha Cup Prelude (1300m).

The Craig Martin-trained gelding bounced to the front for jockey Peter Graham to lead all the way in a super-impressive Walcha Cup lead-in.

Scone trainer Luke Griffith finished second and fourth with Star of Dubai and Sugera while Sue Grills’s Keep It Danish was third.

Jefferson Park won by two and three quarter lengths from Star Of Dubai in a class record 1min 16.16secs.

“His half brother (Mt Rainier) won this race too,”  Martin said.

“Then he came back and won the Walcha Cup here (when the Walcha Cup meeting was transferred to Armidale).”

Mt Rainier was also owned and bred by Walcha’s Jill Nivison.

She was on hand yesterday to see her chestnut son of Dream Ballad snare a seventh career win at just his 15th start.

“He’s a lovely horse,” Nivison said.

“It’s very exciting.”

Peter Graham rode Jefferson Park and couldn’t have had a better run, bouncing straight to the front and controlling the race tempo while under a firm hold.

“That was nice,”  Graham told connections on dismounting.

“He went super. 

“He got a soft lead and switched off but when I went for him he quickened. 

“He went to the line with his ears pricked.”

As winner of yesterday’s Walcha Cup Prelude, Jefferson Park  has earned exemption from ballot in the February 7 $30,000 Walcha Cup (1440m).

Martin said he’d “give him a crack at the Walcha Cup” but then give him a break and freshen him up.

He had raced Jefferson Park at Tamworth just eight days before yesterday’s Prelude.

“That’s not my go – to back them up that quickly,” Martin said. 

“But the more you give this bloke the better he goes. 

“I found that out last preparation.”

Jefferson Park has now won five of his last six races but is yet to win over 1400m.

“He’s had two runs over 1400m and run fifth and sixth,” Martin said.

“But he’s come back a better horse, more mature and a lot stronger.”

He’s hoping he handles the testing Walcha circuit before going  for a break.

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