by Michael Manley
Stable mascot Runaway had to call on his reserves of toughness to win the feature jumps race at Sale on Wednesday, the $50,000 Ecycle Solutions Steeple (3280 metres).
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained seven-year-old gelding almost fell at the second last and then had to withstand strong challenges from Cheners and Dewrinkler in the closing stages but under hard riding from Steven Pateman prevailed in another exciting finish to a jumps race.
Rebecca Shanks, the Melbourne stable foreman for Waterhouse and Bott said she wasn’t surprised that Runaway fought so hard to win.
“We know how big this horse’s heart is and we know he’s going to give everything to the last few metres,” Shanks said.
“He’s tough and he’s really become the stable mascot. We love having him around the barn,” she said.
Shanks said that Runaway was suited to steeplechase events as he loved jumping the bigger fences.
The race also proved to be a quick bounce back for champion jumps jockey Steven Pateman who fell from Hey Happy in the previous Hurdle race.
Pateman also paid homage to Runaway’s fighting qualities and his jumping display except for the second last which he jumped “a bit long.”
“He tried really hard. He jumped really well,” Pateman said on Racing.com.
Pateman said he really liked Runaway as a horse, and he had nothing to prove over the jumps or on the flat.
Early in his career Runaway won the 2018 VRC St Leger as a three-year-old and then the 2018 Geelong Cup and competed in that year’s Melbourne Cup where he finished 19th.
His part-owners include Gai Waterhouse’s daughter Kate, leading Victorian stud Rosemont Stud and leading racing administrator and historian Bob Charley.
Patrick Payne unveiled another promising former New Zealand jumper in Twin Spinner who led throughout to win his Australian jumps debut by 12 lengths in the Ecycle Maiden Hurdle (3280 metres).
His jockey, another former Kiwi Aaron Kuru said Twin Spinner was dynamic and had a lot up his sleeve.
“He got a soft lead; he can overdo it. He jumped very well, except for the last,” Kuru said.Master trainer Eric Musgrove continued his good year with his sixth jumps win when his tough mare Onset recorded her second jumps win this season with a win in the Ecycle Solutions 0-114 Hurdle (3280 metres).
Musgrove said Onset’s jockey Richard O’Donoghue gave the seven-year-old mare “a lovely ride” and the result didn’t look in doubt.
O’Donoghue bided his time in the race, settling Onset well back before rounding up her rivals before the turn and running away to win by four lengths.
“She’s very fit and tough as old boots,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove said Onset got her steeplechase ticket last week at Traralgon but he might wait before she makes her fencing debut.
O’Donoghue said he was building up a good record with Onset.
"She had a beautiful run behind the speed. She did the rest after that, O'Donoghue said.