Looker lands five of the best at Grafton 

Ben Looker rode five winners at Grafton on Sunday. Image: Bradley Photos.

He’s ridden more than 1,200 victories, including many of the biggest races in Country NSW, but Ben Looker proudly added another feather to his cap at Grafton on Sunday.

Taking seven rides, Looker booted five winners home, recording his first quintet.

“I have never ridden five before, so it was really good,” Looker told NSW Country and Picnic Racing

“I went there thinking I could ride two, but everything worked out for me, and it was just one of those days when everything seemed to fall into place.”

Kicking off a big day at Grafton, Looker won the first on the program, the 1006m Two-Year-Old Handicap. 

Riding for Matthew Dunn, Looker timed his run to perfection as Flame Tree Star ($4.20) got home to win by a nostril. 

Then, riding for Dwayne Schmidt, Looker drove to the front on Manic Light ($8) and rated the Nicconi gelding brilliantly to win by a length.

The 33-year-old then won the final three races on the program. 

He combined with Jack Bruce when winning on I Saw The Light ($2.20) in the 1410m Maiden Plate, which cruised to a nearly three-length win. 

The feature of the program was the Brushgrove Cup (1181m), and Looker won the Stirling Osland-trained Buffet Buster ($26), which got home by a head. 

Bringing up his quintet of wins, Looker then won on emergency Fun Enuff ($8.50) in the 1410m Benchmark 66 Handicap. 

Teaming up With Coffs Harbour trainer Brett Bellamy, it was another close finish, with the four-year-old Rich Enuff gelding winning by a nose. 

Making his red-letter day more incredible was that Looker achieved the feat for five different trainers, and there were some very close finishes.

“I’ve ridden four winners on four occasions but have never been able to crack the five, and I did it for five different trainers,” Looker said. 

“With the last one (Fun Enuff), at the furlong, I thought to myself, ‘I am going to ride five here’ Then Sir Boo flashed, and it was a tight finish, but we got it.

“Three of my five were photo finishes, so I could have easily come away with two if they didn’t go my way, but the racing gods were on my side.”

It was a special moment for one of the state’s leading jockeys, who shares a strong connection with racing in Grafton.

“I don’t live there anymore, but I call Grafton home. It’s my favourite track, and I love the July carnival,” Looker said. 

“It’s awesome to ride five winners for the first time at Grafton; that’s where I rode four winners for the first time.”

Looker wasn’t 100% fit at Grafton either after a fall on Friday, but he pushed through the pain and was readying for meetings at Armidale today and Scone on Tuesday. 

“I’ve got a bit of an injury at the moment, which is impacting my lower back area,” Looker said.

“I was fine in the races but was in a fair bit of pain pulling them up.

“I was able to ride at Casino (on Saturday), but I only had one ride there before the races were called off, so I’m a bit sore after today.”

Looker’s big day in the saddle at Grafton highlights what has been a good season.

On 71 victories in 2023/24, earlier this month, he teamed up with Nathan Doyle to win the transferred $150,000 Muswellbrook Cup on Overriding ($6).