BIG Money could be chasing big western money if he wins today’s $150,000 Crowe Howarth Ramornie Handicap (1200m).
The Scone gelding is in line for an invite to race in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth early next year and a win in today’s Ramornie might just earn him a trip across the Nullarbor.
It’s a thrilling possibility but one his trainer, Rod Northam, is going to ponder after today’s feature event.
“He’s got to win first,” the Scone trainer said at Monday’s Clarence River Jockey Club luncheon.
“It’s a million dollar race though.”
Northam has already had a call from the WA racing officials about Big Money’s possible campaign but to do so he has to become a 100 benchmark rater.
At present he’s a 93 – winning the Ramornie might take him to around 97.
“We’ll see what happens,” Northam shrugged.
His most immediate aim is winning the Ramornie.
On Sunday, he won the South Grafton Cup for the first time with Myamira.
Robert Thompson rode the mare on Sunday and is on board Big Money and Northam’s Grafton Guineas hopeful, Husswick, today.
Thompson has now won five South Grafton Cups and Big Money would give him four Ramornies after his back-to-back wins on The Jackal (2007-08) and last year’s success with Ross Stitt’s Youthful Jack.
Northam and Thompson have had a lot of success together and Northam doesn’t mind admitting the nation’s most successful jockey has been a big part of his success.
“We’ve got a very good relationship,” he said.
“He’s helped me out all the way.
“He was my idol when I was a kid riding track work. I used to travel from Singleton to Muswellbrook to watch him ride.
“He’s a great horseman. He tells you if there is anything wrong with your horse after the race.
“You don’t have to give him instructions.”
Northam, who has around 20 in work at Scone, said both Big Money and Husswick had great chances today.
“They’ve both drawn well and will both race well.
“Big Money never runs a bad race.
“He’s drawn the one barrier but won’t be fighting for the lead.
“Hopefully, he’ll be two or three back on the fence,” Northam said.
“I’ll leave the rest up to Robert.”
Husswick has been something of a surprise, Northam said.
“Greg (Ryan) rode him at Tamworth last start. He’d ridden him before but said he’d improved 10 lengths.
“If he takes that form into the Guineas he’ll be hard to beat.”
His main worry is the trip from Scone to Grafton.
“Big Money’s no problem but Husswick is a worry. If he travels across and eats up he will be hard to beat.”
Husswick has an impressive record of four wins and three placings from his 11 starts.
He was just four lengths off Cosmic Endeavour in May’s Scone Inglis Guineas (1400m) and, while he has never been over 1600m, Northam is confident he will run out the extra 200m, especially on his Tamworth effort on a heavy track.