Shelton stable foreman Andrew Cahill with Maclean Cup hopeful Innocenttassie yesterday.
Shelton stable foreman Andrew Cahill with Maclean Cup hopeful Innocenttassie yesterday.

Shelton on a mission

PAST winner Innocenttassie will be out to provide the John Shelton stable with a fitting end to the XXXX Gold July Racing Carnival in tomorrow’s $25,000 Maclean Bowling Club Maclean Cup (1400m).

The Shelton yard has saddled-up three winners over four meetings – Midnight Honey, Cheer ‘n’ Cheers and Darshan Joh’s popular win in the final race on Grafton Cup Day on Thursday.

Shelton reasons a belated feature race win is within reach.

“It’s a hard race but Innocenttassie is just about to peak,” Shelton said.

“His run in the John Carlton Cup was very good. He didn’t shirk his task.

“It took the winner, Hoist, the straight to beat him.

“He’s pulled up great, looks great.”

In 2009 Innocenttassie also finished runner-up in the John Carlton before winning the Maclean Cup.

The seven-year-old, a winner of 10 from 52 starts, was unplaced last year behind cup rival Clan MyClymont, trained by Ross Stitt.

Importantly, seven of Innocenttassie’s wins have come on his own dung hill and he’s won two from three over 1400m.

Hoist ran a terrific time winning the John Carlton – 1.8.99 – after Innocenttassie did all the hard work in front.

To go under by one-and-a-half lengths over, what theses days is an unsuitable trip, showed the evergreen gelding is in fine fettle for the race he’s been set for all along.

“I’ve just trotted him, swum him and he’s had long walks around the streets of Grafton,” Shelton added.

“He’s as sound as anything.

“Previously he’s always had foot problems but he’s completely over them now.

“He doesn’t look or feel any different to three years ago. The horse is thriving.

“It’s been a good preparation leading into Sunday.”

Innocenttassie is raced by well-known local identity Pat Bramich and will be ridden by Matthew Paget, chasing his first Northern Rivers jockey’ premiership since settling in Grafton.

The gelding appears to have snuck under the weight radar with just 54kg.

Innocenttassie meets for example, John Carlton third placegetter Trescorpioni 3.5kg better.

“I really thought he’d get a bit more. I’m not complaining,” Shelton said.

Grafton will also be represented by the Gayna Williams-trained Instant Success and Hotact from the Paddy Cunningham stable.