By Michael Manley
Legendary trainer Gai Waterhouse and her partner Adrian Bott pulled off a training master stroke when they produced Social Element to win the Roberts One Real Estate 1JW Steeplechase in the opening race at Warrnambool.
It was a notable training feat by them as the seven-year-old was having his first start over the fences and also because he was also second-up from a spell after being sidelined for almost two years.
Social Element had two hurdle starts in 2019 for a win at Warrnambool and a second at Sandown.
His rider Tom Ryan said the win was even more meritorious as at times in the race, Social Element struggled in the heavy going which he described as akin to an Irish heavy track.
“He’d won on a heavy track in Brisbane but he hadn’t experienced anything like this. He tried his heart out up the straight,’’ Ryan said.
“You’ll see him in a couple of features very soon.”
The win continued Ryan’s great form and gave him his ninth winner for the year over the jumps.
Ryan said he wasn’t riding any better than he had previously but he was having some luck.
Ryan had to ride Social Element out vigorously to pass the odds-on favourite American In Paris in the closing stages to secure victory.
Ryan’s recent good run though ended when he rode Inayforhay, who started a short-priced favourite in the other feature event, the Southwest Equine Vet Group Hurdle, as he clipped the second jump and the jockey came off.
Out And Dreaming kept his undefeated record of three starts for three wins intact with a comfortable win.
It also continued Noblet’s dream introduction to jumps racing as the four-year-old gelding is the only jumper he has trained.
He said he doesn’t jump him between races, saving him for race day.
Noblet said it was likely Out And Dreaming would be back at Warrnambool to contest the Kevin Lafferty Hurdle on July 4.
Pateman said it was an impressive effort by such a young jumper to have won three from three and predicted with maturity he could be “anything.”
Hyland said Karakoram deserved the win and was a tough little horse.
Wazuzu produced the most impressive win of the day winning his maiden hurdle by 13 lengths.
Wazuzu is owned by Kevin Myers and is trained at Ballarat trained by Lisa Whelan who used to be apprenticed to him.