WARRNAMBOOL May Racing Carnival ambassador Bob Charley tasted the highs and lows of racing as an owner within a few minutes yesterday.
Charley watched with excitement from Sydney as Chaparro, a horse he part-owns, won the Eulong Steeplechase at Hamilton.
Five minutes after the win he took a phone call from trainer Ciaron Maher, who informed him Man Of Class, another horse he part-owns, had broken down.
Man Of Class was the early favourite for the $250,000 Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase to be run on May 1 after his second-placing behind Banna Strand in last year’s feature race.
“Just a few weeks ago I thought I might have three runners in the Grand Annual but it’s all changed around really quickly,” Charley said.
“It looks like now I will only have the one runner and that will be Chaparro.
“I did have Seeking The Silver and Man Of Class as my main horses for the Grand Annual but they have gone by the wayside.
“They will be back jumping next season.
“I thought the win of Chaparro in the Eulong was very good.
“Trainer Patrick Payne has done a great job with him.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed it’ll be a heavy track for the Grand Annual. Chaparro loves wet ground.”
Champion jockey Steven Pateman, who rode Chaparro to victory over Universal Sound and Show Dancer in the $20,000 Eulong Steeplechase (3200m), said the seven-year-old jumped well.
“I was quietly confident from the home turn that I could reel in the early leader Universal Sound,” Pateman said.
“It was good that there were two fences in the home straight.
“Chaparro likes soft going. Full credit to the Hamilton Racing Club for having a surface with a bit of give in it.
“I would say if Chaparro gets conditions to suit he would be a top-four chance in the Grand Annual Steeplechase.”
Rank outsider Geeceegazza won the other jumping race on the eight-race program, a maiden hurdle over 3200 metres. Geeceegazza, a $21 chance, defeated Mannertone and Rich Heritage in the $20,000 race.
Trainer Chris Hyland said the five-year-old had improved a lot since his unplaced run in a maiden hurdle at Warrnambool last month.
Geeceegazza defeated Mannertone ($4.60) by three-quarters of a length, with six lengths to third placegetter Rich Heritage ($6).
Favourite Old Bill ($2.60) finished last, while Meilucca ($10) failed to finish.