By Michael Manley
Champion jumps jockey Steve Pateman will be hoping to win the only feature jumps race which has eluded him so far, the Australian Steeplechase at Sandown Lakeside on Sunday with Bit Of A Lad.
Pateman said the Australian Steeplechase had proven to be a hoodoo race for him.
He said he had won every feature jumps race in Australia at least three times and was keen to get his first Australian Steeplechase.
“I’ve run second in it heaps of times. I’ve made a habit of making the wrong decision and probably sticking with horses which ran well at Warrnambool and they are completely different races,” Pateman said.
Pateman will ride last year’s winner, Bit Of A Lad, in the Ladbrokes Australian Steeplechase (3900m) on Sunday.
He even has a tale of woe about him as he could have ridden him last year. The mount went to Shane Jackson.
“Even then I could have been on him. I thought Slowpoke Rodriguez would get my weight which he didn’t and in the finish I rode Shamal who finished second,” he said.
Pateman said although Bit Of A Lad had had his previous start in the Grand Annual where he finished it was the same form as he had last year.
In 2020, the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained, Bit Of A Lad, finished fourth in the Grand Annual before he won the Australian Steeplechase.
This year he finished fifth behind Gold Medals.
“Put it this way I wouldn’t want to be on any other horse other than Bit Of A Lad,” he said.
Pateman is hoping for a big day at Sandown Lakeside as he also rides for Maher and Eustace, two promising hurdlers in the opening two races.
They are Mawaany Machine in the Ladbroke It! Hurdle over 3400m and he was an impressive winner at his jumps debut at Warrnambool.
Then he will ride Saunter Boy in the Ladbrokes Australian Hurdle (3900m) who finished fourth behind The Statesman in the Galleywood Hurdle at his last start.
In terms of stories from the Warrnambool carnival, the win of The Statesman in the Galleywood Hurdle was on par with Gold Medals in the Grand Annual Steeplechase.
The racing community applauded the win by The Statesman heartily at Warrnambool as former champion jumps jockey and trainer Brett Scott was there to lead him in.
Two months earlier Scott’s life had hung in the balance after he was kicked in the head by a horse on his property.
He was airlifted to the Alfred Hospital and he had suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
Scott said he was visited by an Occupational Therapist this week and she was happy with how he is progressing.
Scott said he loved Warrnambool and the carnival but said it was a big day for him.
“I got home and I was very tired. The talking and the travelling took a bit out of me. The good news is that I’m going in the right direction,” Scott said.
He said he wasn’t surprised The Statesman won The Galleywood as he said he was a real competitor.
“When he finished second to Saunter Boy at Pakenham they went at a slow pace which didn’t suit him. I knew it would be more of a race at Warrnambool.”
Scott is expecting The Statesman to run well in the Australian Hurdle.
“He’s so adaptable. The query will be the step up in distance but I think he can handle it and hopefully put his hand up as a Grand National Hurdle prospect.”