Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds will be chasing a third Ramornie Handicap in four years when Usmanov jumps as the top weight in the $200,000 feature event at the Clarence River Jockey Club on Wednesday.
Edmonds trained Havasay to win the 1200m listed event in 2018 and 2019, and now, training with his son Trent Edmonds, the popular believes they have Usmanov was ready and raring for a crack at the race that is widely considered NSW’s premier country sprint event.
“Well, I would think he is a good chance, especially when he was only beaten a short margin in a Group 3 at Eagle Farm last start,” Edmonds said.
“We let him run too hard that day, we were trying to get the lighter weights off the bridle a bit, which we did, but those horses that beat us finished on the better part of the track.”
Edmonds believes Usmanov’s fifth over the six furlongs at Eagle Farm has him primed for the Ramornie Handicap.
“We hadn’t put him out to 1200m for a while and I thought it was a good run and he should be better for it tomorrow,” Edmonds said.
The five-year-old that is by Choisir and out of Mining Tycoon wasn’t missed by the handicapper when given 59kg, while Andrew Mallyon has been tasked with guiding Usmanov from barrier 11.
“He has a bit of weight, he has 59kg and it can be difficult to win with that weight and that is probably why he is $16,” Edmonds said.
“Still, It’s the same build up as we normally would. He is pretty straight forward, and we expect him to run really well.”
Usmanov is a consistent on-pace sprinter, boasting nine victories and almost $500,000 in prizemoney from 25 starts and Edmonds said nothing would change at Grafton.
“It depends how the track is playing, he generally shows a bit of speed and that can be good at Grafton,” Edmonds said.
“He will look the winner with 50m or 60m to go, but we will have to wait to see what happens in that last little bit.”
Edmonds Racing has been a big supporter of the Grafton XXXX Gold Carnival over the years and the veteran trainer explained why.
“I started training in 1988 and I have probably been going there every year since the year after I started,” Edmonds laughed.
“Whether we have had crappy horses, or good horses, we always get there.
“I am obviously quite friendly with Michael Beattie, and I grew up in country NSW and everyone always targets Grafton.”
Edmonds Racing will only have the one runner on Ramornie Handicap Day, although they look set to start three gallopers on Thursday for the Grafton Cup meeting with Hard Labour (Andrew Mallyon), Waltz (Zac Lloyd) and Chaperone (Zac Lloyd) racing.