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Galleywood Preview: Blandford Lad May Deliver.


The enigmatic Blandford Lad may deliver his most defining moment yet in Wednesday’s $175,000 Galleywood Hurdle, and if Team Gelagotis is correct, no one will see it coming.

Brothers Peter and Manny Gelagotis are adamant their iron-willed jumper is flying under the radar and in his best head space for a long time.

With Peter implementing a new training routine for the eight-year-old, the team, now operating out of Pakenham, says it has unlocked the sometimes-complex Blandford Lad mindset.

“There’s two of him. The very good one is very good. Then there’s the very bad one, who can throw you a few curve balls,” Manny Gelagotis said. “But the boss (brother Peter) has trained him a lot different this time around. “We feel we have him in a really good place.”

Clearly an accomplished jumper in his own right, Blandford Lad can lay claim to some impressive performances, including placings in the 2023 Australian Hurdle and the 2022 Grand National Hurdle.

The latter coming in the same year he won over 3200m at Warrnambool by more than eight lengths. His most recent effort was second behind Eric Musgrove’s El Diez in the Bourke Hurdle at Pakenham (3200m) this month. A win would have made it back-to-back victories in that race, with Blandford Lad saluting in 2023 when he claimed the huge scalp of Saunter Boy. But Gelagotis said there would be significant upside out of the recent Pakenham race, revealing Blandford Lad probably found himself in front a fraction early and vulnerable.

“He was clearly a little bit underdone the other day. We felt he ran terrific,” he said. Gelagotis said they were not underestimating the calibre of his rivals, with Symon Wilde’s Fabalot just two of a very even field.

But the ace in hand, as revealed by Gelagotis, would be Blandford Lad’s faultless preparation. “With these big races you have to have everything go right. We feel that everything has gone right for him and we will be going there with a lot of confidence,” he said.

Gelagotis said the move to Pakenham had reinvigorated the stable’s long-time interest and love of jumps racing after an enforced hiatus.

“It was just so hard to train them, having to travel all the time,” Gelagotis said. “We have a rich history with jumps racing. I love jumps racing and we are really thrilled to be part of this horse. He’s a ripper jumper and we cannot wait for Wednesday.”