WARRNAMBOOL trainer Symon Wilde lists three factors which could undermine star jumper Megapixel’s bid for a hat-trick of victories in tomorrow’s $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase (3450m).
The short distance, wet conditions and New Zealand wonder horse Borrack loom as barriers to a home-town win in the feature race, according to Wilde.
But he remains upbeat about Megapixel’s chances tomorrow afternoon.
“The positives are he’s fit and well and on top of his game and on his home track,” he said.
“He’s the most consistent performer of the whole season in steeplechases. You can’t fault his form.”
While Wilde believed Megapixel’s best efforts were on firmer ground, he conceded he was building a solid record in heavy going, having produced two wins and two placings from five starts.
“He won the Australian Steeplechase on a heavy eight,” he said.
But the course is rated a heavy 10, with more rain forecast tomorrow.
Megapixel enters the race as the one to beat after victories in the Australian Steeplechase and a $65,000 steeplechase at Bendigo last start. His second in the $100,000 Brierly Steeplechase in May and third in the Von Doussa at Oakbank at Easter have given him a lead in the J.J. Houlahan championship award.
“He can’t do any more. Most of the others, except Borrack and Tarawera, he has beaten,” Wilde said.
“He’s really fit and will give them something to run down.”
Wilde said his six-year-old gelding was heading towards the Crisp Steeplechase (3900m) in two weeks and possibly the Grand National at the end of the month if he ran well.
While local punters will be cheering for a Megapixel win, Borrack is likely to attract plenty of attention. He is a big-striding jumper which has won seven out of eight jumps starts, including his first in Australia at Warrnambool earlier this month in impressive style.
The nine-horse field also includes Brierly Steeplechase winner Fareer from the Robert Smerdon-trained stables, Koroit trainer James McNamara’s Dinna Latar and early-season star Tobouggie Nights, which won the Von Doussa and Great Eastern steeplechase double at Oakbank before a disappointing eighth in the Grand Annual.