ANDREW Bobbin impromptu celebratory dance demonstrated what winning the two feature jumps races at Warrnambool on Sunday meant to him.
Bobbin’s reaction was a perfect ending point to a successful Warrnambool six race jumps program which showcased how well the industry is going.
There were close finishes, a runaway winner in Le Baol, a win by the most promising young rider in jumps racing Campbell Rawiller and a riding clinic put on by one of the world’s leading jumps riders in Willie McCarthy.
Bobbin encapsulated the upward spiral jumps racing is on in Victoria.
The well-travelled former Sydney resident started his training business two and a half years ago at Grampians with a practice of getting his horses fit by training them on soft sand.
With this in mind it didn’t take him long to start training jumpers but as he said after Bell Ex One won the Carter Group Lafferty Hurdle the last thing he expected was to be training feature winners so early on.
In a slogging finish Will Gordon on Bell Ex One with a brilliant tactical ride where he saved ground on the inside before the turn, was able to hold off Campbell Rawiller on the exciting young jumper Circle The Sun.
Bell Ex One, a former promising Irish Hurdler, was sent to Bobbin by his owners Sandy McGregor and Nick Rule after Steve Pateman’s suspension. Pateman had helped them source the jumper who had been placed at the Cheltenham Festival Jumps carnival.
Bobbin thanked McGregor saying he believed in how he used his farm to get horses fit.
He also said that Steve and Jess Pateman had given the horse a great fitness base.
McGregor said Bell Ex One had been a work in progress this year.
“Andrew has been pouring the work into him and he seems to be improving dramatically and I think he’ll improve on the back of that too,” McGregor said on Racing.com.
Two races later Bobbin did his jig after Mighty Oasis prevailed in a two horse battle down the straight with Grand Annual steeplechase winner Rockstar Ronnie to win the Thackeray Steeplechase.
Mighty Oasis was ridden by Tommy Ryan and he deprived Willie McCarthy of a haul of four winners.
Bobbin said he had Mighty Oasis in a Benchmark 58 on the flat at Warracknabeal on the previous Friday but made a last minute decision to take on the big boys at Warrnambool.
“He’s as tough as nails. He’s bred to be a sprinter,” Bobbin said.
Bobbin said he put him over some poles at his place and he took to them so he decided to try him as a jumper.
He said Mighty Oasis was bought online by owner Rohan McDonald for $18,000 and was one of two horses he started training from the beginning at Grampians Racing.
Tommy Ryan said Mighty Oasis didn’t give in and he was surprised he was able to out tough a horse like Rockstar Ronnie.
The biggest talking point of the day though belonged to former French stayer Le Baol who won his debut over the hurdles by 25 lengths.
The Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace trained stayer put that margin on his rivals over the last 400 metres which was amazing.
His jockey Willie McCarthy said Le Baol had a big future over the jumps.
“He’s got a big career ahead of him. He won like a seasoned handicapper. He was beautifully balanced and I was impressed by his jumping,” McCarthy said.
He is the first jumper to carry leading owner Ozzie Kheir’s colours in a jumps race.
That win gave McCarthy the first two races on the program as he was successful on Aaron Purcell’s The Rattlin’ Bog in the opening race.
Maher and Eustace made it a double when their mudlark Roland Garros led throughout to win the Mark Primmer Memorial Steeplechase and complete McCarthy’s treble.
The rising star in the jumps jockey ranks was successful on Bedford for Anthony and Sam Freedman when they came from off the speed to win the 1JW Hurdle.