Urbino wins Race 1 at the Clarence River Jockey Club. Photo: Trackside Photography
Urbino wins Race 1 at the Clarence River Jockey Club. Photo: Trackside Photography

Looker back on top of local racing

IT DIDN’T take Ben Looker long to wrest back the Northern Rivers Racing Association jockey’s premiership lead.

Just two races exactly.

Good mate Matthew McGuren had joined Looker at the top of the NRRA table when he’d won the second race aboard Wayne Lawson’s Holiday In Dubai at Clarence River Jcokey Club yesterday.

Two races later and Looker reclaimed the outright lead in the jockey’s premiership when he powered La Cronica to a good win in the $22,000 Family Xmas Race Day 29/11 Maiden Handicap (1410m).

Cathy Chapman prepares La Cronica at Grafton and was delighted to snare another win, her fourth of the NRRA season.

The four-year-old daughter of Host had finished fifth over 1106m at her most recent start.

“I always she’d get over a bit of ground,” Cathy Chapman told Sky Thoroughbred Central after her mare had jumped up an extra 300m.

“Ben rode her very well.”

Urbino wins Race 1 at the Clarence River Jockey Club. Photo: Trackside Photography
Urbino wins Race 1 at the Clarence River Jockey Club. Photo: Trackside Photography

She had it has just taken her mare “a little while” to come to hand, winning for the first time at her fifth start.

Fellow Grafton trainer Scott Henley also celebrated a welcome return to the winner’s circle when Boyles overwhelmed his opponents to win the $22,000 Village Green Hotel Class 3 Handicap (1410m).

It was Henley’s first win in 18 months and came with his pet horse.

“He’s my favourite horse,” Scott Henley said. “I love him. He just tries.”

Boyles had managed to do plenty wrong last time in but has returned a more mature and tractable horse.

“He had a good spell,” Henley added. “Used to hang real bad.”

There was no sign of that today as he snared a third career win with the promise of more to come.

Magic Wu returned from a North Queensland sojourn to break through for his Lismore stable at Grafton today.

Owen Glue “received a telephone call out of the blue” after snaring a winning double at Grafton recently.

The upshot was Magic Wu, who had started his career with Gerald Ryan in Sydney, moved south from North Queensland trainer Kevin Hansen to Owen Glue at Lismore.

He’d won four starts up north at Townsville, Rockhampton (2) and Mackay and, freshened for his return south, ran a fourth and second at Grafton for Glue.

“He’s been excellent since he returned,” Owen Glue said.

“I think he’ll get a strong mile too.”

Magic Wu came from well back to run down race leader Rexx and claim his sixth career win.

Rexx had bolted clear and set up a huge lead for jockey Shane Arnold and Armidale trainer Ian Cook.

He had been a last start Armidale winner and is a crowd favourite with his daring tactics.

In the final races of the day, Degas painted a picture of immense potential partnered by attitude when the big Brisbane bay won at Grafton this afternoon.

The gelding son of Show A Heart fought off a strong challenge from the Matt Dunn-trained Tilly’s Star to win the $22,000 Book A Xmas Party Package Class 1 Handicap (1206m).

It was Degas’ second win at his sixth start.

He had won a 1400m Gold Coast Maiden in his first preparation then spelled for 22 weeks before returning to run sixth at the Sunshine Coast and then having a four week freshen before today’s success.

Rumberella wins Race 8 at CRJC in Grafton. Photo: Trackside Photography
Rumberella wins Race 8 at CRJC in Grafton. Photo: Trackside Photography

“He’s got immense ability,” stable spokesman Peter Strong said for the Chris Munce-trained gelding.

“Still learning the game. The ability has always been there but he’s also got attitude at the same time.”

An $80,000 yearling he has a bright future.

So too does the Edward O’Rourke-trained Rumberella after the five-year-old gelding son of Super Easy won the final race at Grafton today.

He notched his third career win today with a close but impressive win over race favourite Predictable Miss in the XXXX Gold Class 2 Handicap (1710m).

Edward O’Rourke prepares Rumberella at Murwillumbah and has plenty of time for the “straight forward, genuine” gelding.

“I was really rapt with that,” O’Rourke told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

He also thought Coffs Harbour apprentice Kyle Wilson-Taylor produced a “well executed ride” for a horse who had been getting too far back in his races.



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