Graham downplays duo’s chances at Grafton
Jenny Graham is hoping to raise the spirits of Port Macquarie locals after last week's bushfire emergency.
Thankfully, Graham's stables were never under threat from the fires but that's not to say they have not had an effect on her and many other trainers in the area.
"We have been restricted a bit because of the fires and have been very careful in the work that we do,'' Graham said.
"We are just trying to look after the horses.
"It's very smoky here today, you can't see two feet in front of you. We're safe enough, we are just getting the smoke.''
Two of Graham's best winning chances are Foxy's Foxinator and I Wanna Be A Jeep, both of whom wear the colours of Dale Miller, who also owns one of the stable's big guns, Awesome Pluck.
Miller has an expert eye for a bargain at the yearling sales.
He picked up I Wanna Be A Jeep for $30,000 and Foxy's Foxinator for $40,000 at Inglis Classic auctions in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
They have won more than $210,000 between them and there is plenty more to come.
I Wanna Be A Jeep will line up in Monday's unofficial feature race, the Book A Christmas Party Package Open Handicap over 1410m.
The son of former Vinery Stud resident sire Congrats won the Guyra Cup at Armidale in April before spelling and tackles the race third-up off a last-start second in the Jungle Juice Cup, where he set up a very strong tempo.
"I would prefer a shorter straight for this horse but just at the moment there's not a suitable race,'' Graham said.
"He was in at Kempsey last week but they were abandoned so this is the next option for him.''
That said, I Wanna Be A Jeep broke his maiden at Grafton when partnered by Matthew McGuren, who has been recalled for duty.
I Wanna Be A Jeep has raced nine times at the 1400m for five wins and two placings.
McGuren also has the job on Foxy's Foxinator, whose chances are somewhat diminished by his wide draw.
"It's just unfortunate that he has drawn an awkward gate up there,'' Graham said.
"He was in the Highway (on Saturday) but we scratched him there because he drew a wide barrier and he's drawn wide up there too, but he will have to go around because there is not much else on.
"It makes it difficult because he is an on-pace horse but is honest and has always raced well.''
The son of Foxwedge has won twice and placed six times in 11 starts, his last appearance a creditable fifth at Warwick Farm in the middle of May when making his first trip to the city.
"It might have been a little late in his prep,'' Graham said.
"He probably should have come a little bit earlier but he went to the paddock after that and he trialled really."