Ben Looker saw home John Shelton-trained Bugalugs in the 2020 Jacaranda Cup.
Ben Looker saw home John Shelton-trained Bugalugs in the 2020 Jacaranda Cup.

Grafton runner strides out to Jacaranda Cup victory

BUGALUGS continued to shine on his home track when the five-year-old gelding broke through a rich prize money barrier on his way to winning Wednesday’s $22,000 Grafton Gas and Plumbing Jacaranda Cup (1106m).

The John Shelton-trained son of Scintillo notched the sixth win of his 22-start career when he finished too powerfully for Colt Prosser’s Salad Dodger and Graham Payne’s Yulong Knight.

In winning the Jacaranda Cup he crashed through the $100,000 prize money barrier. He has now won more than $106,000 and doesn’t know how to run a bad race at home.

In his four starts on his home circuit he has won two and run second the other two times.

His win also elevated trainer John Shelton to outright third in the Northern Rivers Racing Association trainer’s premiership.

Shelton now has eight wins in the NRRA with Matt Dunn (18) leading from Coffs Harbour trainer Brett Bellamy (10).

Ben Looker, who was apprenticed to John Shelton, rode Bugalugs for Shelton and leads the NRRA jockey’s premiership from his good mate Matt McGuren.

They dominated the first seven races on the eight-race card too, with McGuren snaring a treble and Looker a double.

Looker didn’t have a ride in the last but McGuren partnered the Jacob Perrett-trainer Territorial but could only finish third behind the Neville Boyle-trained Kujito.

Kirk Matheson partnered Kujito.

Earlier in the day Murwillumbah trainer Matt Dunn claimed a treble spread out across two tracks.

The trio of wins were at Grafton and Goulburn, with his Murwillumbah based runners Le Figaro and Vivendo Il Sogno claiming wins at Grafton, and his Sydney based three-year-old gelding, Sagacious, round out the victories at Goulburn.

Murwillumbah trainer Matt Dunn. Photo Scott Powick
Murwillumbah trainer Matt Dunn. Photo Scott Powick

A son of Foxwedge Sagacious won easily, spread-eagling his opponents by more than six lengths in the Jewell Builders Showcase Class 2 Handicap (1600m).

Keira Dunn, Matt Dunn’s wife, was at Goulburn and delighted with Sagacious’ effort.

‘That was pretty impressive,” Keira Dunn said.

“Hopefully there are bigger and better things ahead for him. He’s just got to put it all together.”

He was having his sixth start today.

“He’s always show us a lot of ability at home,” Keira Dunn said.

“We haven’t seen the best of him yet.”

Further north four-year-old gelding Vivendo Il Sogno, a son of Falvelon, won his third race from 12 starts for Matt Dunn.

It was a double for him and jockey Matt McGuren.

They had also combined to win the first race with Le Figaro.

Murwillumbah gelding Epic Player won the Maclean Hotel Maiden Plate for trainer Alan Boyd and jockey Cejay Graham while Grafton trainer, Cathy Chapman, celebrated a good win with Sweet William.

FAMILY CONNECTION: Trainer Cathy Chapman with nephew Joel Hayward and Sweet William. Photo: Phoebe-Jayne Photography
FAMILY CONNECTION: Trainer Cathy Chapman with nephew Joel Hayward and Sweet William. Photo: Phoebe-Jayne Photography

Six-year-old Sweet William, a gelding son of Redoubtable Emperor, broke through at his 24th start when successful in the $22,000 McKimms Real Estate Handicap (1710m).

Two races later and the Tess Wilkes-trained Phylave broke an even longer drought when he won the $22,000 Herb Blanchard Haulage Class 1 and Maiden Plate (2220m).

He was having his 39th start and surged home to snare his first win for his Taree stable.

It was Matt McGuren’s third win for the day and a new “barbie” for his trainer.

“Patience is a virtue,” she told Sky Thoroughbred Central after the win.

“He’s been a good horse moneywise for us, run a lot of fourths,” she said of a son of Smart Missile who had earned more than $50,000 without winning in the lead up to today’s race.

“I can go and buy a new barbecue now,” Tess Wilkes joked with STC’s Gary Kliese.



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