Six Grafton Cups for (NZ) in last decade

Victorian raider Mr O’Ceirin passed a ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup with a determined victory in the LR Grafton Cup (2350m) on Thursday.

Mr O’Ceirin (NZ) was nearly scratched from the 100th running of the Clarence River feature after receiving a wide gate.  “I did have second thoughts but we were already in Sydney when the draw came out,” trainer Ciaron Maher said.  “It was a great ride by Blake (Shinn).”

Mr O’Ceirin (5g Postponed – Cadell by Yachtie) won narrowly from Darley galloper Yulalona (Dubai Destination) and fellow Kiwi-bred Reuben Percival (Al Akbar).

(NZ) horses have won 6 of the last 10 Grafton Cups – Mr O’Ceirin (2013), Twin Wing (2010), Castle Heights (2009), Art Success (2008), Rocking On (2006) and Pacific Dancer (2004).

Maher will take the gelding back to Warrnambool before gearing up for a spring campaign.  “I don’t think we’ve seen him the best of him yet,” he said.  “He’s a bit stronger this year.”

Bred by the Keenan Family Trust, Mr O’Ceirin won twice in NZ for Foxton trainer Sandie Cookson before crossing the Tasman.  He is a half-brother to O’Ceirins Angel (Al Akbar) who scored back-to-back victories in the G3 Stoney Bridge Stakes.

His sire Postponed was a G2 winner of the Peter Pan Stakes (1800m) in the USA and stands for a $7,000 (plus gst) fee at Westbury Stud.  He joined the Karaka property’s roster in 2009 after Westbury owner Gerry Harvey secured a 50% share in the son of Summer Squall.