Grafton trainer Dwayne Schmidt (centre) charges down the track to check on injured jockey, and future son-in-law, Ben Looker after a race fall on Ramornie Handicap Day at Grafton last month.
Grafton trainer Dwayne Schmidt (centre) charges down the track to check on injured jockey, and future son-in-law, Ben Looker after a race fall on Ramornie Handicap Day at Grafton last month. Graham Mackie

Looker firmly back in the saddle

BEN Looker, the regular rider of exciting bush sprinter Victorem, can continue his form surge at Grafton today.

Looker suffered a concussion in a race fall late last season, forcing him out of the saddle for most of August but since his return, he's ridden 15 winners to be vault into third on the NSW country premiership.

His Grafton book of seven rides today include Longtga in the Maiden Plate (1015m) and Aimalac Bulsa in the Class 2 Handicap (1115m).

"I would say Longtga is my best ride,'' Looker said.

"Both his runs back have been good, he's going well and the blinkers are going on for the first time. I think he is a live chance.

"Aimalac Bulsa's first-up run was very good then the other day he was slow out of the gates and ran into trouble but kept finding the line. He will be hard to beat.''

Looker's other rides are Sleepy Heart in the fillies and mares Maiden Plate (1015m), Conquers All lines up in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1015m), Epiffany is in the Maiden Handicap (1720m), Court Appeal in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1720m) and Mackellar in the closer, a Class 1 Handicap (1420m).

Meanwhile, Country Championships Final winner Victorem continues to please Looker and trainer Jenny Graham as he prepares for the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 13.

Victorem, winner of five of his seven starts, hasn't raced since his second to Sambro in the Hawkesbury Guineas back in April but he looked very impressive winning a Taree barrier trial last week.

"I thought he went super in the trial,'' Looker said.

"He is going to have another trial before The Kosciuszko and then go straight into the race. I believe he has improved since the autumn.''

Belflyer continues his preparation for the The Kosciuszko with a crucial exhibition gallop between races at Grafton today.

Trainer John Shelton said Belflyer will have a solo workout as he revealed plans to keep the seven-year-old gelding fresh and not race him again before The Kosciuszko.



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