Parramore sets Andy for Brisbane mission ahead of Country Champs

Grafton trainer Andrew Parramore. Photo: Adam Hourigan.

Grafton trainer Andrew Parramore hopes his first Brisbane starter in nearly a year “comes up roses” at Doomben on Saturday.

But he admits the horse named after him (Andy) faces a difficult task to win first-up in the 3YO Handicap (1200m) as he readies him for a crack at the Newhaven Park Country Championships.

“Andy has 59kg topweight and isn’t a big horse, and has drawn 10 in a field of 11,” Parramore said today.

“Normally you wouldn’t bother going when they have to jump from outside barrier six or seven over the short course at Doomben and, to be honest, I’d probably prefer to stay home and catch up on some gardening.

“But I don’t have many options with Andy, and have to get him going if he is to secure a start in our heat of the Country Championships in a few weeks.

“We’ll ride him negatively from the awkward draw and give him the chance to run home at the end.”

Jockey Brooke Stower will continue a so far unbeaten association with Whittington three-year-old Andy, who has raced only five times.

She won on him when he broke through at Lismore on October 17 in a 1210m Maiden, again when successful in a Ballina Class 1 Handicap (1400m) on November 1 and clinched the hat-trick in a Class 2 Handicap (1310m) at Lismore a week later at his final appearance before a short break.

Andy showed his versatility by winning on good, soft and heavy ground in those three successes.

The Northern Rivers Racing Association heat of this year’s Country Championships will be run over 1400m (as a Class 5 Plate) at Coffs Harbour on February 12.

“I took Andy to the Ballina Cup meeting last Friday to give him a tick-over trial in preparation for Saturday’s race,” Parramore said.

“He trialled evenly (beaten just under a length when third to Riot Act in a 1000m Open heat which comprised seven runners).

“I’ll try to sneak another race into him before the Country Championships heat, but not certain I can.”

Parramore has never previously had a runner in the NRRA heat, and is striving to get both Andy and stablemate Canexcell into the $150,000 feature at Coffs Harbour next month.

It will be a tremendous feat if he can do so, given he has only six horses in his stable.

Canexcell was his last Brisbane starter when third to Garoppolo in a Class 1 Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on February 25 last year.

Parramore was delighted with the gelding’s strong-finishing second (from last at the 400m) to No Doubt A Star in a Benchmark 74 Handicap (1000m) at last Friday’s Ballina Cup meeting.

“He went enormous at his first run since winning at Taree in November,” Parramore said.

“Canexcell has pulled up well, and I am looking at taking him to Newcastle next Saturday (January 29).

“He has gone up 2 points to a benchmark rating of 68 following the Ballina run, but the roomier track at Newcastle will suit him.”

A four-year-old son of Jabali, Canexcell is putting together a tidy record. From 14 starts, he has produced four wins and five placings.

Parramore, understandably, has a soft spot for the gelding’s dam Sandy Selection. He won three races on her during his riding career, and then prepared the mare to win on six occasions, including his first success as a trainer, at Kembla Grange in early 2009.