Ben Looker storms home on Nemingah (blue silks) to win the Grafton Cup Prelude at Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude Day 2020
Ben Looker storms home on Nemingah (blue silks) to win the Grafton Cup Prelude at Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude Day 2020

Nemingah survives protest to storm into Grafton Cup

NEMINGAH and jockey Ben Looker fought off a good field as well as protest to earn a spot in Thursday week’s $200,000 Grafton Cup today.

The Edward O’Rourke-trained gelding survived a protest from Grant Buckley, rider of second-placed Polemic, alleging interference at about the 300m mark.

However, stewards dismissed the objection allowing the Murwillumbah-trained gelding, a four-year-old son of Nom Du Jeu to keep the $24,500 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude Quality (2230m) and also the exemption from ballot in the $200,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) on Thursday, July 9.

Whether lightly raced Nemingah starts in the Cup is still up in the air.

He was having just his 12th race start today and won for the third time.

Edward O’Rourke is also thinking about starting him in the $30,000 Class 6 Rural Plate (2200m) at Grafton on Ramornie Day.

“We’ll have a look and see whether we go to the Grafton Cup or not,” O’Rourke said of a race that may attract a strong field of experienced stayers.

Regardless of where he goes O’Rourke might have a handy stayer in the making.

“He is a nice type of horse,” he told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

“He’s got that something about him. He’s athletic. “

He said today’s race was not a good indication of his ability.

“I’d like to see a proper run race,” he said of a Cup Prelude that was a dawdle early.

“If you get a stronger run race you will see a better horse.”

O’Rourke will nominate him for both races over the carnival and see what happens as the days unfold.

2019-20 NORTHERN RIVERS RACING ASSOCIATION PREMIERSHIPS TOP 5

TRAINERS

54: Matthew Dunn.

20: Toby & Trent Edmonds, Dwayne Schmidt.

18: Stephen Lee, Kris Lees.

15: Ethan Ensby.

14: John Shelton.

13: Daniel Bowen.

JOCKEYS

54: Matthew McGuren.

32: Ben Looker.

30: Belinda Hodder.

25: Ray Spokes.

20: Andrew Mallyon, Luke Rolls.

18: Jon Grisedale.