ELVISON took another step in his bid to chase down Lazza’s record of steeplechase wins at Casterton when he won his fourth race in a row over the fences at the picturesque Western Districts circuit with a typical dashing display to win the Pullen and Co Steeplechase (3800m) by seven lengths on Sunday.
The Symon Wilde trained jumper was ridden by Aaron Kuru and the pair dominated the race from the outset. Elvison defeated Historic by seven lengths with Armansky a close-up third.
It was Elvison’s fifth steeplechase win at Casterton and he trails the course specialist of the early 2000s Lazza by two wins now.
Elvison will get his chance to get within one of Lazza at his next start which will be in the $100,000 Two Rivers Steeplechase (3800m) at Casterton on June 25.
Wilde said when he was younger he would come to Casterton and love to watch horses like Lazza jump through the live hedges and he felt privileged to have a horse such as Elvison who can also do that.
“He’s crept up in the weights and he’s a big horse, he’s a small horse and weight will catch up with him but that was another faultless display where he jumped beautifully,” Wilde said.
Wilde said Elvision compensates for carrying big weights with his speed jumping.
“He can let fly at these hedges and what a sight it is.”
Wilde said his training team gets a great buzz out of watching Elvison perform so well at Casterton.
Kuru said Elvison loved the Casterton circuit and he felt quite like a special horse when he rode him there.
He said last week Elvison went there for a school and felt like he was back to his best.
It was another great Casterton meeting for Wilde as he trained the quinella in the Shojun Concrete Open Hurdle (3500m) with Fabalot, also ridden by Kuru, holding off a late challenge from Count Zero to win narrowly. Eric Musgrove trained the runners who finished from third to fifth. Dr Dependable, Tamarack and Onset.
Wilde said it was a great effort to win by Fabalot for a couple of reasons.
He said Fabalot preferred a heavy track rather than the firm track he encountered on Sunday.
“Also he went pretty fiercely out there and the Galleywood run took a bit more out of him than we thought. There’s a lot of merit to that win,” Wilde said.
Wilde pointed out that Fabalot only began his jumping career late last year and he had a bright future.
“Hopefully, he’ll build up his ratings this season and we’ll probably try and win the Galleywood again next year with him.”
The most emotional win for the day came in the opening race with the victory by jumps jockey Braidon Small on the Paul Preusker trained Killourney in the Ecycle Solutions Maiden Hurdle (3500m).
Small said after the win that he would take time away from the saddle to deal with the re-emergence of a brain tumour which needed to be operated on and removed.
Small said he had the brain tumour removed four years ago but it had started to grow back.
“All my close friends and family know about it, but I haven’t made it public,” he said on Racing.com.
“I thought I better just come here today and do the job I’ve loved doing for the past 12 years and it was really good to get a winner.”
The former talented flat galloper, who is part-owned by racing commentator Rick McIntosh, was having his sixth start over the jumps and that was his maiden win.
It was an impressive win by Killourney as he settled a clear last but he sprinted past his rivals in the straight to win by three and a quarter lengths.
Preusker said Killourney had proven to be a challenge for him to train.
“He’s always shown a bit but it’s fair to say he’s beaten me. I’ve had to do things a bit differently with him and I’m not giving him much work which seems to have done the trick but that’s not really how I train,” Preusker said.
“I thought Braidon rode a great race. Letting him find his feet. It was great horsemanship.”