Midnight Shifty claims race 1 at Grafton ahead of Pin and Kestelos.
Midnight Shifty claims race 1 at Grafton ahead of Pin and Kestelos.

Lynch turns race caller for Ingham

LOCAL trainer Mark Lynch took on the guise of international race caller at Grafton yesterday.

With Yamba-based owner Greg Ingham in New Zealand and unable to get a broadcast of Latika’s performance in the Warren Bultitude Maiden Plate (1000m), Lynch relayed the race live to Ingham via mobile phone. Lynch was the first to admit his portrayal of the mare’s winning performance wouldn’t have done justice to the likes of John Tapp, but sharing the excitement first hand with Ingham had its special moment.

“I gave a running commentary to Greg. While I probably missed a lot of the other horses my attention was focused on Latika,” Lynch said.

“Like me Greg was very happy with the result.”

Starting at $6, the four-year-old Canny Lad mare scored by one and-three-quarter lengths from Elle Majesty and Yabbra.

The victory gave Lynch his first win as a trainer and first on home soil.

The 46-year-old, who rode 1502 winners as a jockey and had several overseas stints including riding trackwork for Sheik Mohammed in Dubai, has only been licensed for six months.

Currently he has a team of 10 horses with five more gallopers due to join the stable in coming weeks.

Lynch paid tribute to his partner Gail Miller, who worked with New Zealand-born trainer Graeme Rogerson for four years in Sydney.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without Gail,” Lynch said.

“She’s been a tremendous help and the backbone of the stable.

“I’ve only had Latika for about a month and it’s her first start for me. Greg (Ingham) might even send me a few more now.”

Grafton trainers dominated the L J Hooker Grafton nine-race meeting, attended by a good size crowd, winning six races.

Greg Howells kick-started the local charge, debutant Midnight Shift (Craig Franklin) winning the Lee Taylor 2YO (1000m). A $16,000 Magic Millions yearling purchase out of the former Snowy Connell-trained mare Srategic Plan, the colt is owned by a syndicate of locals including Iluka-based Larry Newton.

“There’s more improvement in him. He’ll probably have one more run then go to the paddock,” Howells said.

Graeme Want produced Credit Crisis to lead all the way with Gold Coast jockey Matthew Bennett in the saddle to win the Jackie McGregor Maiden (1400m). Cool Joe, trained by Cathy Chapman, produced a stunning finish to win the Col Chivers Benchmark 50 Hcp (1200m).

The second leg of a winning double for Jasen Watkins, the four-year-old gelding by the late Canadian Silver, arrived late to grab the David Campbell-trained Zoe Eliese inside the final 50m.

Eight-year-old gelding Follow Orders scored his 11th career win when taking the Joy Walters Benchmark 50 Handicap (1200m).

Follow Orders (Glenn Lynch) held off the Chapman-trained Rocket King to score by a half-length with She’s Not Guilty, trained by Joe Janiak of Takeover Target fame, third.

Critics of the Benchmark system were quick to point out Follow Orders, a ten-time winner carrying 56.5kg, the same weight as She’s Not Guilty ( the winner of a maiden) and the likes of Rocket King, 56kg, (one win in 15 starts) and three-year-old maiden winner Snapaduck, only getting 0.5kg and 2kg respectively.

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