Growing up on his parents’ dairy farm in NSW’s Hunter region, Rod Northam dreamed of winning a Ramornie Handicap.
Big Money, the horse which made the dream a reality for the trainer in 2014, will try to win the $160,000 Listed 1200m Grafton feature for a second time on Wednesday.
“When you’re brought up in country NSW, it’s a race you always want to win,” Northam said.
“It was a great thrill to win it.”
Big Money’s owner-breeder Phil Gunter died in April.
His wife Leona and their friends Tracey and Clinton Wallace continue to race the gelding and the same group owned his dam Lyn’s Mother who died giving birth to Big Money.
“He’s a special horse to them,” Northam said.
“He’s won more than $700,000 so it’s been a really good ride for them.
“He’s the last of the generation.”
Big Money’s last two runs have been in Group One sprints – the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm where he was 12th on a leader-biased track and The Goodwood at Morphettville where he ran a creditable sixth.
Dropping back to Listed company, Northam is happy with the 59 kilograms the three-time Group Three winner will carry in the Ramornie.
And despite the gelding’s impressive record on a soft track – four wins and four placings from nine starts – Northam is hoping for a good surface at Grafton.
“The thing about Grafton is you’ve got a good, long straight and every horse gets a chance,” Northam said.
“We’d like a firm surface where he can make up ground from behind them in a genuinely run race.”
Northam said as a rising seven-year-old, Big Money was going to be given every chance to win more races.
“After the Ramornie, he’ll have a little freshen-up and then have a go at Sydney in the spring and see where we go from there.”
Northam is considering Melbourne’s spring carnival and not ruling out a trip to Western Australia.
“There’s lots of little options so we’ll determine it based on how he’s going,” Northam said.
Big Money is a $6 chance to win a second Ramornie while last year’s winner Rock Royalty is $51.
Queenslander Into The Red is the $4.80 favourite with the Allan Denham-trained Mount Nebo on the second line at $5.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au