Strange scenes unfold as Buchanan lifts South Grafton Cup
STRANGE scenes unfolded during the first feature of the July Carnival in Grafton on Sunday as Kristen Buchanan-trained Jazzland took the crown.
Ben Looker-piloted Prima Stella was the first horse to cross the line in Sunday's $50,000 feature, but the six-year-old gelding did so without the Grafton jockey in the saddle.
Dislodged from the Daniel and Rocky Simonetta galloper at the start gates, Looker bailed out as the field ran on.
Jazzland pinged out in front and sat comfortably at the head of the pack as Casino Mondial pushed him on.
Fellow Grafton jockey Matthew McGuren made a charge up the inside on Evopex but stablemate Brazen pushed Jazzland to the line to make it a Buchanan double at the top.
But jockey Koby Jennings, who claimed his second victory for the day, powered on the take the chocolates in the July Carnival major.
Looker may feel he could have had a chance against the Wyong trainer had he stayed in the saddle, but the leading Clarence Valley jockey still had a day to remember with four wins.
Opening South Grafton Cup Day with a bang, Looker put in a stunning performance in the 2200m Class 1 & Maiden Plate, before taking out race 3 with Tony Newing's Gogh Fox, race 5 on John Shelton-trained Bugalugs and closing proceedings with a win for Chris Manson's Heza Magic Man.
Manson was full of praise for Looker, who made a statement ahead of this week's Ramornie Handicap and Grafton Cup Race Day's.
"Ben rode a beautiful race. He just kept on improving today," Manson said.
A stellar day on the track will help Looker up the Northern Rivers Racing Association Premierships, as his closest rivals failed to find any winners on Sunday.
Premiership leader McGuren also left empty-handed, but will highly favoured to be among the winners over the coming week at the Clarence River Jockey Club.