IN A huge boost to the XXXX Gold July Racing Carnival, trainer Con Karakatsanis has confirmed dual Stradbroke winner Black Piranha is coming to Grafton for the $130,000 WHK Ramornie (1200m).
The striking black gelding, a winner of $2.613 million prize money, ranks as one of the best-performed horses to grace the time-honoured 1200m sprint.
“The family have been trying to win the Ramornie for a long time, we won’t stop trying until we can win it,” Karakatsanis said.
“I’m bringing the big black horse (Black Piranha) this time.
“He pulled up fine after the Stradbroke and will spend 10 days in the paddock to freshen up before coming to Grafton.
“Let’s hope we’ve got the right horse this time.”
Under the quality handicap conditions of the Ramornie, to be staged on Wednesday, July 13, the seven-year-old can receive no more than maximum topweight of 61kg on a 53kg minimum.
Karakatsanis has already approached champion Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller for the mount.
“If Nash can’t make it Michael Rodd is on standby. He will be ridden by a heavyweight rider,” Karakatsanis said.
Black Piranha finished a closing 4.8 lengths eighth to Sincero and Beaded in the group one $1 million Stradbroke at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
The gelding was a close third to Beaded in the group one Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 28 at his second run this campaign.
“The way this year’s Stradbroke was run, they went too slow early and gave him no chance,” Karakatsanis reasoned.
“He gave the winner plenty of weight and worked to the line good. I was rapt in his effort.
“Coming back to the 1200 metres and his likely weight is the only problem but he’ll go into the race nice and fresh, which he likes and he’s won at Grafton before.”
Black Pirahna actually won his maiden at Grafton in July 2006.
Subsequently developing into a top-line performer at racing’s elite level, Black Piranha has recorded eight wins and 17 placings in a stellar 56-start career.
Karakatsanis said he would bring six horses to contest varying races during the carnival.
Darley head trainer Peter Snowden, who scored with Pinwheel in last year’s Ramornie, said yesterday he was unsure if he would have a runner in this year’s race.
Lonhro five-year-old Skytrain was being considered but Snowden said the gelding’s 7.9 lengths fifth of six in last Saturday’s June Stakes at Randwick “was disappointing”.
“He (Skytrain) didn’t please me with his last run,” Snowden said.
“It was absolutely great to win last year but it’s not a mug’s carnival. You’ve got to have the right horse.”