Graham mulling over Country Championships crack with Bean Foggy

The Darren Graham-trained Bean Foggy was guided to a strong win at Ballina by Matthew McGuren. Photo: Trackside Photography.

The “fog” hasn’t quite cleared yet!

Murwillumbah trainer Darren Graham is toying with the idea of giving Monday’s Ballina winner Bean Foggy a crack at the 2022 Newhaven Park Country Championships.

And whilst the lightly-raced three-year-old ate up overnight following his second victory on end, in the Tweed Coast Classic Final (a 1260m Benchmark 58 Handicap), his trainer is yet to sign off on stepping him up in class to tackle the opening Northern Rivers heat of the annual series at Coffs Harbour on February 12.

“I’ll take the next week or so to work out a plan with Bean Foggy,” Graham told NSW Country & Picnic Racing this morning.

“I’m confident he will handle the 1400m of the Coffs Harbour heat, but concerned he’s not mentally ready yet for a race such as that (a set weights Class 5 Plate).

“He is a nice horse and obviously is showing good promise, but still has a lot to learn.”

Bean Foggy has started only five times for two wins and as many seconds, and didn’t start his career until late into his two-year-old season when runner-up in a Casino Two-Year-Old Handicap (1200m) on May 27. 

Graham spelled him after the gelding finished fifth to the promising Far Too Easy (a subsequent Brisbane winner earlier this month) in a 2YO Handicap (1015m) on June 27 at the beginning of Grafton’s winter carnival.

Bean Foggy resumed when narrowly beaten in a Maiden Plate (1110m) at Lismore on November 8, and hasn’t put a hoof wrong since, breaking through with a hollow victory over 1100m at Grafton 20 days later and then taking another step yesterday at the meeting which was transferred from Graham’s home track.

Graham, who mixes training a small team with his part-time job as an ag assistant at Murwillumbah High School, purchased Bean Foggy for $10,000 as a yearling at the Gold Coast in March last year.

A son of the now deceased Spill The Beans (whose five wins from only 11 starts included two Group 3s at Randwick and Hawkesbury in 2016 and the Group 2 QTC Cup at Eagle Farm that year), he is the first foal of the Red Element mare Morning Fog, a four-times Queensland winner.

‘I liked a few horses at the sale, but they went for around $50,000,” he said.

“This bloke was a nice athletic type and fitted my price range.

“My intention was to get him ready for the Breeze-Up Sale for two-year-olds in training at the Gold Coast in November last year, and try to make a quid.

“But he just wasn’t ready. He was a bit hot-headed, and there was no point pushing him.

“Subsequently, when I realised Been Foggy had some ability, a few mates were keen to get into a horse.

“At that stage, he owed us about $20,000, so I syndicated him with my partner and a number of people taking shares.”

It is never an easy task graduating from a maiden victory and going up 2kg next time out, but Bean Foggy ($2.50 favourite) was equal to the task yesterday.

Jockey Matt McGuren gave him the run of the race from his inside barrier, and the gelding took full advantage once a gap appeared on straightening.

He was never in danger over the concluding stages and comfortably defeated the mares Cossie ($6), who was game after covering ground, and Shirazzle ($10).

Bean Foggy has been Graham’s flag-bearer so far this season. He has had only 12 starters for the two wins. 

Aside from picking up Bean Foggy for $10,000, Graham clearly has an eye for a bargain.

He bought the now nine-year-old Morendi for $3000 as an unraced two-year-old at a 2015 Patinack Farm dispersal sale, and won nine races with him, including six in Brisbane.