Looker ready to recreate his ‘biggest thrill’ in Grafton Cup
THIS time last year Ben Looker scored his biggest thrill when the Port Macquarie-based jockey won the 2350m Grafton Cup on Sacred Day.
The 29-year-old, born in Glen Innes but refers to himself as a "Grafton boy", celebrated his highest achievement in his profession.
"It was my biggest thrill," Ben Looker said on Wednesday morning in recollection of a brilliant ride to win the Grafton Cup on Sacred Day for New Zealand trainer Tony Pike.
"I'd never won it before and to win it front of my mum and dad, family and friends was something I will never forget."
Now married to his Sky Channel commentating Priscilla (nee Schmidt) Looker, they are expecting their first child at the end of the year.
And Ben was back at Grafton hoping to create another first on yesterday's Ramornie Handicap day.
He rode Boomsara in the $200,000 Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m) for Eagle Farm trainer Chris Munce.
"I think he's a very live chance in the Ramornie," Ben added before the race on Wednesday.
"He's a very good horse on his day and is a 3yo Magic Millions winner in the past.
"To win a Ramornie would be great, he's a definite chance."
Then it's on to Thursday's Iron Jack Grafton Cup and a return to the scene of his greatest triumph so far - the 2019 Grafton Cup.
Last year Ben produced a peach of a ride on the Kiwi stayer for Tony Pike.
Thursday he rides La Pulga for Gold Coast trainer Michael Costa.
While he believes Boomsara is a "live chance" in today's Ramornie La Pulga will "run a very good race" in the $200,000 Iron Jack Grafton Cup (2350m).
"He ran second in a Group race (the Premiers Cup) at Doomben two weeks ago," Ben recalled.
"He was going from the mile up to 2200m and there is no reason he can't improve on that."
There's no reason why he can't win the feature double either.
Winning a Ramornie-Grafton Cup double "would be great".
He's in good form too.
Last Sunday he rode four winners on South Grafton Cup Day.
"I've done that four times now," he said of a quartet of wins.
Four winners on the day is best and Sunday, while equalling his best day in the saddle, also had a bitter sweet taste after his South Grafton Cup mount, Prima Stella, left him in the barriers.
"Great to win four races, there's been plenty of times I've gone to the races thinking I've got some real good chances today but come away with nothing. When it comes off it's great like the other day but you also want to win the feature race and to have something like that happen was frustrating," he said of being left in the barriers.
"It was out of my control."
What is in his control is his quest for more success at Grafton, the chance to ride his first Ramornie winner and then, hopefully, notch his first feature double with a second Grafton Cup win in as many years.
"It's the best time of the year," Ben said.