A good Looker and a beautifully run Maiden
By Adam Hicks
RACING commentators praised apprentice jockey Ben Looker for a perfect ride aboard Crystal Point as he coasted to a seven-length win in the $12,000 Ireland Honda Lismore Big Maiden Plate (1200m) on Saturday.
"You don't see any bigger or better win," Sky Racing commentator Gary Kliese said during the presentation at Lismore Turf Club.
"He had never sat on a horse three years ago; he couldn't sit on a wheelbarrow.
"He has a long future if he can keep this (his head) on."
It was the 32nd career win for the shy 17-year-old, who also piloted Lord Nediym in the Newmarket win on Ballina Cup day.
Starting a $4 second favourite from barrier 14, the Chris Manson-trained Crystal Point had a 'beautiful run', according to Looker.
The Grafton-based jockey got out well from the wide start to sit five or six deep, one off the fence.
Coming into the home straight, Looker brought the five-year-old gelding around the front-runners and exploded into the lead.
"He had a beautiful run ... he hadn't spent a penny coming into the straight," Looker said.
Crystal Point scored by seven lengths from Arfa Daley ($7) in second with Gairloch ($13) a long head back in third.
The $2.50 favourite Saffir Simpson never figured in the race, running a disappointing ninth after putting punters in a frenzy on track.
Coffs Harbour trainer Chris Manson said he was never bothered by the former Gai Waterhouse-trained Saffir Simpson.
He said he was more worried about the track which was down-graded to slow after heavy morning rain postponed the first race for nearly an hour.
"He had a trial on a wet track in Grafton and the message I got was he wasn't comfortable," Manson said.
But the late rain was not enough to hamper its long preparation.
"He was set specifically for this race," said Manson, who brought up only one runner for the day.
"He was going to go to the paddock until the equine influenza lockdown, so instead I turned him out for today."
It was only the third start for the five-year-old.
"We've had to be very, very patient with this horse," Manson said.
"He was always shin sore. He has been very immature but is over all his problems.
"He's just been learning."