Have Saddles, Will Travel ... to Walcha

Article excerpt

Byline: the home straight the horse whisperer sport@dailyexaminer.com.au

BETTER known as a top class trout fishing spot surrounded by world heritage-listed wilderness, Walcha is the latest rostrum for up and coming apprentice jockeys Ben Looker and Adam Hyeronimus to showcase their ever improving skills.

Looker and Hyeronimus, like most other country jockeys, live by the 'have saddle, will travel' philosophy and don't mind the four-hour drive to the small town of just 1800 residents. Looker received a call from Craig Martin, the brother of his previous master Tim, to see if he was able to take a few rides at today's meeting.

"Craig asked if I was doing anything on Friday as he had a few handy rides and he wanted me on them," Looker said.

Looker will ride Campeche in the $30,000 Walcha Cup for Martin and even though the Orpen gelding hasn't been in the best form of late, combined with being up against bush cup winners Tige, All Again and 2007 South Grafton Cup winner Come In Spanner, he is quietly confident it can run a big race.

"Our biggest issue will be finding the place. Craig gave us the direction to go to Armidale then onto Uralla, turn left and you can't miss it. I hope it is that easy because Hippo (Hyeronimus) hasn't been there either," Looker said.

Hyeronimus teams up with Grafton trainer Brian Taylor with Linda's Touch, which ran a luckless fifth last start at Grafton on a leader-biased track and must be some hope at odds in the race.

Gangstar sale

AS Tony White reported in The Daily Examiner on Wednesday, Deep Water Cup winner Our Gangstar is close to being sold to connections in Adelaide. Unfortunately Our Gangstar may leave our area without really showing his true potential. 'Slaughtered' is the only word to describe Hyeronimus' ride on the horse on Tuesday at Grafton and it was gratifying to see the stewards haul him over the coals for the effort. …