Ben Looker finished well ahead of the pack on Tony Newing-trained Gogh Fox in race 3 of South Grafton Cup Day at the 2020 July Racing Carnival.
Ben Looker finished well ahead of the pack on Tony Newing-trained Gogh Fox in race 3 of South Grafton Cup Day at the 2020 July Racing Carnival.

O’Rourke turns to Looker in two-pronged Grafton attack

MURWILLUMBAH trainer Edward O'Rourke heads to Grafton on Monday with excellent prospects when he combines with jockey Ben Looker with his two runners Zavy's Hope and Managua.

O'Rourke has the I Am Invincible mare Zavy's Hope lining up in the Class 2 Hcp (1700m), the opening race on the seven-race program, and Pierro gelding Managua tackling the Maiden Hcp (1206m).

Both gallopers only recently joined O'Rourke's stable after previously being with Toby and Trent Edmonds on the Gold Coast.

Managua is resuming since May 29 when he was fourth in a Gold Coast Maiden, a race that turned out to be an excellent form race. Managua was beaten 4.5 lengths behind Roman Aureus who beat Chico Milagro by almost two lengths.

Roman Aureas has since won three times in Brisbane and Chico Milagro has also stepped up to city class, winning at Eagle Farm two starts back on August 1.

Managua geared up for his return to racing on Monday with a barrier trial win at Grafton on August 17, beating the smart Coffs Harbour galloper Plonka.

Managua's main threat in Monday's race looks to be the Matt Dunn-trained Uprise, who was having his first run for the Murwillumbah trainer when he resumed as a $1.75 favourite at Grafton on August 17 but was edged out by Sacred Thoughts.

Zavy's Hope, a well-bred mare by I Am Invincible out of Epic Faith (a half-sister to Brazen Beau), resumed to win comfortably win her Maiden over 1560m at Lismore on August 3.

Young rookie trainer Chloe Thomas is chasing her second winner from just her third starter when last-start surprise winner Huey tackles Monday's Class 2 Hcp (1206m).

The Coffs Harbour-based Thomas, who only took out her trainer's licence a couple of months ago, had her very first runner when Huey resumed with a fifth of 10 runners over 1000m on a heavy8 at Coffs Harbour on August 8.

But the 22-year-old trainer didn't have to wait long to notch up her first winner when Huey improved sharply second-up on a good track at Lismore on August 24. Ignored in the betting to run a $26.00 chance, Huey was always in a forward position and proved too good against a couple of handy types, including the $2.15 favourite Swanston who finished unplaced.

Brooke Stower picked up the late ride on Huey at Lismore last week and retains the ride at Grafton.

"I've been competing in equestrian events the majority of my life and I love racing, so why not give it a go at training," Thomas said after Huey's Lismore win.

"I've got four in work and another four to come in, so the team is building all the time."