Sports

The winning connections of Cepheus (GB), including former Clarence Valley resident Maree Anderson (pictured with the trophy), celebrate following the race. Image: Emma Pritchard

Local success better than the Melbourne Cup

Emma Pritchard

 

Originally purchased from Europe as a possible Melbourne Cup contender, connections of English bred gelding Cepheus (GB) declared his tenacious victory in the 2023 Grafton Toyota South Grafton Quality Cup over 1610m on July 9 as better than winning the race that stops a nation.

Smiling proudly as she held the trophy firmly in her grasp, winning owner and former Clarence Valley resident Maree Anderson (nee Gorrie), said it was amazing to win a feature event during the 2023 XXXX July Racing Carnival, especially after giving her Murwillumbah based trainer Matthew Dunn plenty of hints and suggestions in the lead up to the event.

“This is unbelievable,” she revealed.

“I’d been saying to Matt for a long time, ‘are we running any horses at Grafton during the carnival’, and this race worked out perfectly for Cepheus (GB).

“He came out from England with good form, and he ran some good races for us, then he was off the scene for a year due to injury, and to see him back on the track as a winner, it’s just fantastic.”

Ms Anderson travelled to Grafton from her Gold Coast home the day before the race and described the win by Cepheus (GB) as one of her biggest thrills.

As the winner of the 2023 Grafton Toyota South Grafton Quality Cup, Cepheus (GB) qualified for the $3 million The Big Dance to be run at Royal Randwick on November 7.

European bred gelding Cepheus (GB) won the 2023 Grafton Toyota South Grafton Quality Cup on July 9. Image: Emma Pritchard

When asked if the six-year-old son of champion European sire Sea The Stars (IRE), would be set for a prominent spring campaign, Dunn said he would also like to target The Kosciuszko on October 14 as a lead in race prior to running in The Big Dance.

“It’s definitely another race I’d like to win,” he said.

“For now, we’ll give Cepheus (GB) a freshen up and look at other options moving forward.”

 Cepheus (GB) has raced 24 times for five wins and nine minor placings.

His win in the feature event on the weekend took his career earnings over $500000.

Winning jockey Aaron Bullock was also full of praise for the gelding, who carried the topweight of 62kg in the race and fought hard to deny a gallant Cotehele (NZ) by a short head on the line.

Barellan Bandit finished third.

Bullock said Cepheus (GB) travelled well in the first half of the field during the race and let down with a powerful kick inside the final 300m.

“It was a brave effort with 62kg on his back,” he said.

“But he’s a good horse, and he deserved to win.”