Henry Dwyer is hoping his success at the Pakenham jumps meeting on Easter Monday will parlay into the Warrnambool carnival in May.
Dwyer only trains three jumpers and he was thrilled with their performances at the pivotal lead-in meeting to Warrnambool.
Dwyer took out the feature steeplechase event, the J.E.H Spencer Memorial Steeplechase (3500 metres) with Riding High.
Dwyer was also successful with Brungle Bertie in the Ecycle Solutions 1JW (3200m) and his other runner Budd Fox also finished second to Valac in the Ecycle Solution Benchmark 25 Steeplechase (3200 metres).
“With the jumpers it’s a culmination of a lot of hard work when they win, it’s very satisfying,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer said it was Budd Fox who was the more likely to take his place in the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool on May 5 rather than Riding High.
Dwyer said Riding High was better off running in the Brierly Steeplechase over 3450 metres on May 3 as the 5500 metres of the Grand Annual was too far for him.
“He’s probably not a Grand Annual horse as I don’t think he stays as well as he needs to. We tried him in the Grand National at the end of a tough season, he ran third, but I think he’s best over 3500m metres to 4000 metres,” he said.
“If he went to a Grand Annual, it’s a tough test and that might be it for the season. There’s plenty of other options for him such as the Brierly Steeplechase and the Australian Steeplechase.”
Riding High was ridden by the former Irish and American based jumps jockey Willie McCarthy, who will be a fixture in local jumps racing for the next four years after being granted a visa to work here for that period.
Dwyer said Budd Fox would be suited by the 5500 metres of the Grand Annual.
“I think it might be a good year for him to tackle the Grand Annual provided the track stays dry. He takes a while to wind up and as he showed in the Jericho Cup he stays all day and he’s good around that Warrnambool course,” he said.
Dwyer said Budd Fox didn't have enough dash to contest the Brierly Steeplechase as he's an out and out stayer.
"He’d go straight into the Grand Annual. He’s fit enough and seasoned enough. He’ll go for a spell straight after as he doesn’t handle wet tracks and then we’ll bring him back for the Jericho Cup."
Dwyer said if it was a heavy track at Warrnambool, Budd Fox would run in the Novice Steeplechase.
Dwyer said he was also leaning towards the Novice Hurdle on May 5 with Brungle Bertie at Warrnambool in preference to the Galleywood Hurdle.
“He’s two from two and has been impressive both times. Whether we want to subject him to a Galleywood at this stage, if he was to win he’d get a huge ratings boost,” Dwyer said.
“He’s also got to take on Out And Dreaming and Saunter Boy who are very good jumpers and it's whether we want to take them on. The Novice looks a good option for him and then possibly Australian Hurdle.”
Dwyer said Brungle Bertie was perfectly ridden by Lee Horner who placed him behind the fast tempo set by Roland Garros and Hush Writer.
“He doesn’t have a turn of foot. The brutal tempo worked for him. He’ll ultimately end up a Grand Annual horse,” Dwyer said.