SUE Grills returns to Riverside Racecourse on Thursday afternoon chasing a win in the $20,000 XXXX Gold Keith Swan Memorial Benchmark 65 Handicap (1200m) with consistent gelding Market Guru.
The six-year-old gelding son of Markane has won six of his 47 starts and has been placed another 15 times in a career where his prize money is approaching $100,000.
He has had just the one run at Gunnedah, for a third, and will have to overcome a wide barrier (11) if he and jockey Peter Graham are to win a race Tamworth trainer Grills would love to capture.
The 1200m start at Riverside is by far the worst for bad barrier draws, Grills said.
“He’s going to need a lot of luck from there,” she said.
“It’s by the far worst for wide barriers at Gunnedah – the rest are a lot easier.
“He’s been a consistent horse though – no champion but always tries, and it is a tough race too.”
The Keith Swan Memorial is one of the feature races on Somerton Cup day, a now nine-race TAB meeting that includes the Arthur Gore Memorial and the Breaker Morant Charge Lightning Prelude.
It is also the first day of the three-meeting Winter Carnival of Cups for the Gunnedah Jockey Club.
Thursday’s Arthur Gore and Keith Swan Memorials celebrate the memory and careers of two great trainers from nearby Somerton – the late Arthur Gore and Keith Swan.
Grills learned from both men.
“I rode for Pop (Arthur Gore),” she said of a career that started as a young apprentice.
“I rode Drop A Note for Pop. He was a good horse, took him to Brisbane and won a Lightning. He also won up there with Scottish Crag (dual Tamworth Cup winner).”
She was apprenticed to Swan, her uncle, and transferred from riding to training with his help as well.
So winning the Keith Swan Memorial this afternoon would be a thrill as part of a busy and hectic day where she has seven runners across the nine races.
“It’s going to be busy, big fields too,” she said.
She doesn’t have a runner in the Bective Station Somerton Cup Benchmark 60 Handicap (1600m).