After a rare defeat over the jumps, Australia’s best hurdler Saunter Boy returned to his best form with a trademark tough victory as he made it two wins in a row in the $175,000 Galleywood Hurdle (3200m) to the cheers of his adoring fans at Warrnambool .
It was the ten-year-old gelding’s 11th win from 15 starts over the hurdles and he has won seven of his last eight starts.
It was Pateman’s fourth win in the Galleywood Hurdle and Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace’s third win in the race.
Ciaron Maher described Saunter Boy as “a super horse.”
“He was always in control,” Maher said.
Pateman said the win was great for jumps racing and he was proud of the horse.
Maher said his instruction to Pateman was ‘if you’re half thinking about it, just go for it because he’s so ready to go this year’.
Maher said it was a great feat by Saunter Boy to come back every year and win feature races with big weights.
“A lot of work goes into these horses and he’s obviously a stable favourite,” he said.
Maher thanked his brother Declan who runs their jumping arm and said what a week it was for him becoming a father of baby Caolan last week and also he celebrated his birthday.
He also thanked Saunter Boy’s owners Australian Bloodstock for giving him the opportunity to train him as a jumper.
“To send the horse down to see if he liked jumping, what a champion he’s become. Kudos to them for giving us the opportunity,” he said.
Pateman said the race was run at a good tempo with Fabalot leading and setting a good clip which suited Saunter Boy.
“He came off the bit before the second last but Ciaron said he’s fit and if you’re thinking about it ‘just go,” Pateman said.
“Into the second last I knew he was home then and just had to get over the last. He was careful over the last and too good.”
Saunter Boy defeated Fabalot by two and a half lengths with Instigator two lengths away third.
Symon Wilde was again to the fore in the Decron Dunroe Steeplechase (3450m) when he quinellaed the race with Tolemac proving too strong for stablemate Under The Bridge defeating him by eight lengths with Roland Garros hanging on for third six lengths away after leading.
On Tuesday, Wilde also won the Brierly Steeplechase with Britannicus and he stamped Tolemac as a likely candidate for the same race next year.
“He’s got a nice little turn-of-foot and he jumps so well. “He’s a really good jumper and the sort of horse I’d be aiming at the Brierly,” Wilde said.
Will Gordon on Tolemac stalked Roland Garros during the run and took over with 600 metres to go and said he jumped perfectly.
Gordon said he got into the slipstream behind Roland Garros which is something he has learnt from doing a bit of cycling where he has found out how important it was getting into that position.
The Wildes have done it again and they’ve primed him perfectly for this race.