by Michael Manley
After local trainer Symon Wilde won the second race with Count Zero he remarked he was a relieved man to have managed to get a winner at the Warrnambool carnival.
He should not have been so concerned as by the end of the day he had trained five winners including the winners of three jumps events which included two quinellas.
Wilde’s pair Vanguard and Britannicus staged a thrilling battle down the Warrnambool straight with the former prevailing to fight out the feature event the Brierly Steeplechase.
Before that race in addition to Count Zero taking out the Cally Hotel Hurdle he had also trained the quinella in the G Taylor Memorial Hurdle with recent stable recruits fighting the race out with Rider In The Snow defeating Tolemac.
Wilde also trained Mio Capo to win the 1200 metres maiden and As I Please to win the Benchmark 70 over 1200m.
Wilde said he loved the spectacle of his horse’s fighting out the Brierly Steeplechase as it was great theatre which the crowd loved.
Wilde said the lightly raced former Kiwi Vanguard would run in the Grand Annual Steeplechase on Thursday. He suggested that Britannicus might not back up in that race.
“We bought Vanguard to target this carnival, some stable clients jumped in, and Britannicus was a second-hand horse who is having a great career. We’ve got every inch out of him and he’s doing a terrific job,” Wilde said.
The win gave Will Gordon a winning double as he also won on Count Zero.
Britannicus gave a bold front running display and led by ten lengths with 1000 metres to go but Vanguard who settled last worked into the race from then.
Gordon said he thought he had the race in his keeping at the second last but when Britannicus kicked clear he thought he would have to settle for second.
“He really dug in that last bit,” Gordon said.
Wilde said after Count Zero won the Cally Hotel Hurdle he had planned for him to make his jumps debut in that race for some time.
Wilde said Count Zero, who won the Jericho Cup last year, did a bit of schooling last year and showed enough talent to run him over the hurdles.
Count Zero was ridden by Will Gordon who had him well positioned throughout.
Wilde also trained the quinella in the G. Taylor Memorial Hurdle with Rider In The Snow defeating stablemate Tolemac by two and a quarter lengths.
Both horses came to Wilde’s stable this season to be trained as jumpers.
Rider In The Snow is a former French stayer who was initially trained in Newcastle by Kris Lees.
Rider In The Snow was ridden by former leading New Zealand jumps jockey Aaron Kuru and it was his first winner at the Warrnambool carnival.
The Warrnambool jumps carnival got off to an historic start when 23 year-old Megan Dunseath became the first woman to win a jumps race at the course.
Dunseath was successful on Lord Pierro for Horsham trainer Paul Preusker in the Let’s Make It Grand Hurdle (3200 metres) in the opening event.
Dunseath received a rapturous reception from the enthusiastic crowd on returning to scale which she said was “unbelievable.”
The 23 year-old Dunseath moved to Australia three years and a half years ago from Northern Ireland and is based at Ballarat with former jumps jockey and now trainer Richard Cully, who is also her sponsor.
Dunseath had to fight hard for the win as Lord Pierro who led into the straight was under pressure after runner-up Buffalo Bill issued a strong challenge over the final 200 metres drawing level with them.
In the finish Lord Pierro prevailed by a long neck over Buffalo Bill with Periscope five and a half lengths away third.