By Michael Manley
As he has done on so many occasions during his grand career, champion jumps jockey Steve Pateman is dominating jumping races in the state.
From his past nine rides, Pateman has won five races. From his past 15 rides he can boast seven wins from 15 starts.
The 38-year-old Pateman will head to Pakenham for the feature jumps meeting on Sunday feeling he is riding as well as ever and confident he can continue his winning run.
Pateman said compared to last year he felt much happier, fitter and as a result, has his weight under control.
He said that was being reflected in his riding which he felt was as good as it had ever been.
“My weight is a lot better and that’s got a lot to do with it. Everyone had a rough year with Covid last year so it was a bit stressful as there was a bit going on plus we had our cobalt case and all that is off my back this year,” Pateman said.
“I’ve always loved riding but at the moment I’m enjoying it way more this year compared to last year.”
Pateman will combine with the Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace stable for six of his rides which include a rising star in Norway in the Brendan Dreschler Hurdle and an established one in Ablaze in the Mosstrooper Steeplechase.
Included in his other rides for the stable are horses that will start at short odds including Light Pillar, Roland Garros and Big Blue.
The only mounts he has for Eustace and Maher which aren’t favourites are his feature race rides, Norway and Ablaze which are second favourites.
Pateman believes that the pair have great winning chances.
He said he had teamed up with the stable this year and from the start of February until the end of March he drove to Ballarat from his Barwon Heads property to school their jumpers.
Since then he has made the trip on a when required for schooling basis.
Pateman said the credit for the success of the jumping arm of the Maher and Eustace stable rested with Declan Maher who was the general in training the jumpers.
“Declan has taken on the role of organising all the jumpers and their trials programming and he’s done a great job,” Pateman said.
Norway rises from a win in a maiden hurdle at Warrnambool by ten lengths on a heavy track to taking on horses of the calibre of Flying Agent and Pateman believes he’s up to the task.
Pateman pointed out that Norway ran the fastest time of the three 3200m hurdle races that day.
“He was impressive. He’ll take improvement from that. Although he’s up in class I believe he’ll enjoy Pakenham and will love the extra pressure,” he said.
Pateman identified Social Element as the danger to Ablaze in the Mosstrooper Steeplechase (3500m) but he was confident he could win.
“Ablaze feels fantastic. He’s doing everything right at the trials and I think it’s a really nice race for him to kick off with a realistic weight of 71 kg which with his record I don’t think is too much,” he said.
PATEMAN ON HIS SEVEN PAKENHAM RIDES.
Pateman: “The wetter the better for him. That track will suit him. If heavy he’ll be very hard to beat.”
Pateman: “It’s his long-awaited jumps debut. He’s well-schooled. He’ll be ready for it.”
Pateman: “He probably can’t win. He’ll be suited by 3500m but after this, he’s going to Casterton for a Steeplechase where he will be competitive.”
Pateman: “He trialled fantastic at Cranbourne. The stable has changed a few things. He’s a great chance.”
Pateman: “Although he’s up in class I believe he’ll enjoy Pakenham and he will love the extra pressure.”
Pateman: “He’s trialling well. He’s a class above all of them and it should be a confidence-boosting race for him. He’s a horse who would give any feature race a shake.”
Pateman: “He feels fantastic. He’s doing everything right at the trials. It’s a really nice race for him to kick off in with a realistic weight with his record of 71kg.”
Due to the latest COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, the Ecycle Solutions Mosstrooper Jumps Day will now go ahead behind closed doors. Only participants, essential staff and officials are permitted to attend.