Darryl Horner guides Robbie’s Star over an obstacle at Casterton. PAT SCALA/RACING PHOTOS
I thought I’d seen everything in jumps racing, but Tom Sadler breaking his leg while still on his horse was a new one.
It happened at Casterton last Sunday. Tom was riding Kuridala in the Casterton Steeplechase. He was just biding his time back in the field as they headed out of the straight the second time.
Tailored fell in front of him and in the process he kicked Tom in the leg. Tom stayed on the horse but he was in agony, and had to pull Kuridala up.
Tom does a lot of work for my stable and it will be a shame to have him missing for a while. He copped quite a bad break to his tibia and he’s likely to be out of the saddle for six months.
The only positive, if I can call it that, is that the jumps season is nearly over and Tom has made a really good impression in his second season.
Never a dull moment ...
The Casterton Steeple was a race full of thrills and spills.
The action began as early as the first fence when Dormello Mo dumped Ronan Short. It looked like things got a bit tight in the rush to the first obstacle. Dormello Mo just dragged his back legs through it and didn’t get the landing right. It was a strange mistake for such a good jumper.
I had three runners in the race and one of them, Historic, lost his rider (Nathan Newton) during the first lap. It was a harmless tumble.
My other horses raced very well, with Surging Wave winning and Mapping running third.
Surging Wave’s victory was very satisfying as he was quite ill early in the season. It was great to get him back to full health and fitness.
He’ll run in the Grand National Steeple (August 25) but won’t be representing my stable. The owners have horses with David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig and Surging Ways will run for them in the National. He’s a lightweight chance, too.
Robbie can star in higher grade
Last Sunday’s Casterton Hurdle was taken out in impressive fashion by the Peter Chow-trained Robbie’s Star.
He’s a neat little jumper who can progress to a higher level. The J.J. Houlahan Hurdle (3200m), worth $125,000 on Grand National Steeple day, would certainly be worth a crack in my view.
Robbie’s Star loves heavy tracks and he is likely to get conditions to suit at Ballarat (on Sunday week).
I rode Ascot Red into fifth place in the Casterton Hurdle. He’ll take benefit from that run. He’d been competing over fences and jumped the first few obstacles a little high.
Ascot Red is likely to run next in the Grand National Steeple and he’s not without a chance.
Nice by Northern
In the maiden hurdle race at Casterton, the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-prepared Northern Voyage gave a dashing display, leading throughout and scoring comfortably.
They are backing him up in Sunday’s Adam Lindsay Gordon Hurdle (3300m) at Coleraine. Against a small field of seven he looks hard to beat again.
I will be trying my best to knock him off on my galloper My Four Oh Nine. He has finished runner-up at his past two, the latest when I switched him back to hurdles at Sandown.
Coleraine also hosts the Great Western Steeplechase over 3600 metres this Sunday — a race first contested in 1857!
I have Unabashed, Mapping and Historic lining up in the $40,000 feature, with Unabashed probably the best chance among them. Tom Ryan takes the reins.
Our biggest danger looks to be the Patrick Payne-trained Sweet Lullaby.
She has won two of three over fences and with only 65.5kg she looks well placed again.
In the maiden hurdle I am riding the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Ablaze.
I gave him an easy time in a trial at Warrnambool on August 2. He should run well.