A NEW Zealand jumper with celebrity status back home launched his Australian career with an emphatic win at Warrnambool yesterday as he ramped up preparations for next month’s $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase (3450m) at the course.
Australia’s premier jumps jockey Steven Pateman guided the Kevin Myers-trained Borrack to an impressive victory in yesterday’s feature jumps race, a $20,000 steeplechase (3450m).
The big-striding chestnut gelding, with a distinctive white splash on his face and white hoof, led virtually all the way to win easing down by two-and-a-quarter lengths from the Darren Weir-trained Via Savoia, while the Quinton Scott-prepared Sea Town was a further 15 lengths away third.
Pateman was excited at Borrack’s first-up performance as the seven-year-old claimed his seventh win over jumps from eight starts.
“He’s like one of the best horses in New Zealand,” Pateman said. “He’s like a celebrity over there.
“I was really impressed with him. The plan was to have a hit-out before the Thackeray.”
Pateman was so taken with Borrack he said “on that run” he would stick with him in the Thackeray Steeplechase on July 1.
Myers has remained in New Zealand but assistant trainer Lisa Whelan, who is preparing his runners from a Ballarat base as well as riding, suffered a broken collarbone in a fall in the maiden hurdle and wasn’t trackside for the run.
Borrack’s success completed a winning double for Pateman, who is enjoying a golden run at Warrnambool.
Pateman, who won last month’s Grand Annual Steeplechase on Awakening Dream, has now won seven of eight jumps races he has ridden in at Warrnambool this season.
His only “blemish” was a second in the Brierly Steeplechase on the opening day of the May carnival when he chose to ride Megapixel over winner Fareer.
His rides on Borrack and Chaparro, his other winner yesterday, were perfect but varied significantly.
While he led all the way on Borrack, saving ground crossing the Tozer Road double before turning for home, he positioned Chaparro off the pace in the maiden hurdle (3231m) and waltzed into contention at the third last obstacle, having worked along the rails, again saving ground.
Plumpton trainer Patrick Payne said Pateman’s ride on Chaparro was superb.
“The horse has limited ability,” Payne said.
“It was a 10 out of 10 ride by Steven. He’s the best in the business.”
Earlier, Fran Houlahan indicated first-season jumper Zaman may be headed for next year’s Grand Annual Steeplechase after he scored an impressive win in a $20,000 restricted hurdle.
Houlahan floated the idea of a start in the famous race after the seven-year-old won the opening event on the 10-race program by more than three lengths.
“There’s plenty of improvement in him,” she said.
“He’s only a first-season jumper. I reckon he might improve enough to run in a race like next year’s Grand Annual.
“He’s by Zabeel so there’s no worries with him running the distance in the Grand Annual (5500 metres). We’ll probably give him one or two more jumps starts this season before putting him away for next season.”
Zaman was formerly trained by Rob Heathcote in Queensland before joining Houlahan’s stables to be a jumper.