Bit of a Lad: quality jumper well weighted in the Thackeray Steeple. PAT SCALA/RACING PHOTOS
Ballarat Cup winner Grand Dreamer makes his jumps debut in a maiden hurdle at Warrnambool on Sunday and I’m more than happy to be guiding him through his 3200-metre challenge.
Grand Dreamer won the Ballarat Cup back in 2017, on a heavy track. He’ll get similar conditions at the ’Bool. Now eight, he’s still a gun on the flat — he was only beaten two lengths by Furrion in the Warrnambool Cup in May — but it’s his jumping that excites me.
I’ve tested him at the trials and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes in a race.
It doesn’t look an overly strong maiden.
Lad’s looking good
It’s going to be a terrific day for supporters and participants on Sunday, with six jumps races on the Warrnambool program including two big features — the $100,000 Kevin Lafferty Hurdle (3200 metres) and the $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase (3450 metres).
In the steeple I’ll be taking the reins on Bit of a Lad, who looks a great winning chance.
He is well well weighted under the conditions.
I schooled Bit of a Lad at Ballarat during the week and he felt great. He’s a good jumper anywhere but he loves the ’Bool, where he won the Brierly Steeplechase over Saturday’s distance on April 30.
Sir Lopez is the next best-ranked jumper in the field and ran fairly in a flat race at Sandown on Wednesday to top him off for Sunday’s assignment.
Police Camp scored well at Casterton last start and can’t be ignored.
Kid keen on mud?
I’m on the topweight, Killarney Kid, in the Lafferty Hurdle. Fellow jumps hoop John Allen reckons the nine-year-old isn’t a big fan of heavy tracks, while I tend to disagree.
Well, it’s up to the horse to prove one of us wrong on Sunday because he’s definitely going around and it’ll be a heavy 10 surface — or worse.
Regardless of conditions, he’s a good jumper and he’s been a marvel through his racing career. He’s now won an astonishing 16 races.
I think Euroman will be tough for us to beat on Sunday. He’s a promising hurdler.
A weakish race, thankfully
I’ll be taking the reins on Surging Wave (a horse I train) in the restricted hurdle over 3200 metres.
He’s a steeplechaser getting fitter and will find it hard to topple the topweight Beyond Thankful, who fell last start in the South Australian Grand National Hurdle but his form before that was good.
He can bounce back in a race that doesn’t contain any stars.
One more, please
Pakenham hosts four jumps races on Sunday week and while I don’t like to come across as greedy, it would be great if a fifth was added. There’s no maiden hurdle programmed and there are a hell of a lot of them (maiden hurdlers) around at the moment.
We go four weeks without another maiden after Warrnabool this weekend so putting one on at Pakenham would be most helpful. Big field guaranteed!