Great Scott! Fernleigh jockey returns to Grafton

HE'S won the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double, ridden a bevy of Group One winners, but today Fernleigh jockey Scott Seamer will return to the country tracks he once raced on before breaking into the big time.

Seamer has two rides at Grafton today including the Gwenda Markwell-trained Comepsa in the $130,000 Ramornie Handicap over 1200m.

While he mainly plies his trade in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne these days, Seamer is happy to be back in the saddle at a country race track he knows pretty well.

“It's not that often that I get out into the country at this time of year, but it's nearly the end of the Brisbane carnival and we are sort of coming to the end of a busy time and I can take a little break,” Seamer said.

“I've raced in Grafton before, won a cup and had a few places in the Ramornie.”

Seamer rode himself into the hearts and minds of the Australian racing public when he combined with Ethereal and Sheila Laxon to win the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double in 2001. But he's still incredibly modest about his transition from bush jockey to big time racing.

“I used to really enjoy riding in the country and I've visited plenty of country tracks, but I was just lucky to get on the right horses when I came to the city,” he said.

“I don't have as many rides as I used to, but there are a few trainers who still use me. I've mainly been working in Brisbane when the carnival came around and over the spring I went to Melbourne for nine weeks and had a few places.”

Seamer, who turned 40 a few weeks ago, has curtailed his overseas riding career since crushing his vertebrae in a bad fall in Hong Kong. Now with a young family he's content to spend more time at home.

“I think that I've still got a few good years ahead of me, but I can't imagine racing past five years. The wear and tear on my body is really starting to take its toll,” he said.

“I've broken my collarbone, two shoulders, crushed my vertebrae ... but that's just part and parcel of what I do.”

Speaking about Comespa, his ride in today's Ramornie Handicap, Seamer said the New Zealand import had a strong chance despite a wide barrier draw at 16.

“He's done quite well. He's had about nine starts and won three or four times,” he said.

“He's done quite nicely down in Sydney, but he has got an awkward barrier draw at 16. Still, he can be expected to race well.”

Seamer's other ride today will be on the top weight Frosty in the Grafton Guineas over 1600m.

“Frosty won its last two at Ipswich and Caloundra and goes quite well, although we'll be carrying around a fair lump,” Seamer said.

While he hopes his sojourn in the country will be a pleasant one, Seamer still has his sights set on another crack at the big Melbourne races later in the year.

Peter Moody's Riva San, which won the 2400m Queensland Oaks in May, is being set for the Melbourne racing carnival.

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