Brave Ali makes a case for shot at Grafton Cup


BRAVE Ali bounced back from an Armidale Cup disappointment in the best possible fashion on the weekend, winning the $50,000 Brazilian Beauty Handicap (2100m) at Doomben for his Tamworth trainer and Armidale syndicate and suggesting he might be on track for July’s 2350m Grafton Cup.

His comprehensive three and a half  length win on Saturday was also just what his Tamworth trainer Craig Martin wanted as he prepares for a family holiday by starting three of his stable, including debutante Jesse Canyon, at Tamworth Jockey Club’s meeting today.

Jesse Canyon, a two-year-old gelding son of Shaft has drawn barrier 10 in the first race of the day at Tamworth, the $15,000 Corey’s Catering Maiden Plate (1000m), and comes off a second in a recent 1000m Tamworth trial.

Martin also starts Dollar Dan and last-start winner Greyborghini, who also jumps from barrier 10, today.

But Brave Ali has carried all the stable plaudits of late and also made up for a near miss by Walcha Cup winner Jefferson Park in Brisbane the week before.

Martin trains the gelding for a large Armidale syndicate including Armidale Jockey Club secretary Jim Dedes, and the laconic Dedes was just one of the large number of connections cheering Brave Ali on to his three and half length win on Saturday.

“He did win well,” Dedes said of a son of O’Reilly who has now won nine races and more than $150,000 in prizemoney.

“He led all the way. 

“They didn’t look like running him down.”

Dedes said it was a far cry from the Armidale Cup when he started with 59kgs as favourite, led and finished fifth to Dusty’s Felt, who is racing at Tamworth today.

“It was far different in the Armidale Cup,” Dedes recalled.

“He didn’t settle and  had another one take him on. 

“In Brisbane he settled well, relaxed. 

“And he did drop from 59kg to 53.5kg after Tegan Harison’s claim.

“ She rode him well.”

Dedes said the gelding has stayed up north “with Tony Gollan”.

“We’re hoping he might be able to sneak away with a couple more 2100m races up there,” he said.

“He could come back for the Mornington (main support race to the Tamworth Cup) but we’re also hoping he might win a couple and then have a crack at the Grafton Cup.

“He’s had seven or eight starts over 2100m and won five or six of them.”

While Dedes is delighted with the  Cup rebound, he’s also preparing for another big race day next Monday.

He said last week’s rain had been fabulous for the track.

“Noms close tomorrow,” he said of the 11am closing time.

He was also delighted for the local harness racing club which staged its Armidale Cup meeting on Sunday.

“They were very happy with the crowd,” he said.

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