WARRNAMBOOL trainer Aaron Purcell hopes a year of hard work will pay dividends for Prussian Officer when he runs in the $160,000 Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank today.
Purcell has taken advantage of local beaches and sand dunes in a bid to renew Prussian Officer’s confidence for racing after he lost form.
“Prussian Officer was out of confidence and form when we got him,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey with him. We just hope it pays off today. We put the Great Eastern on his agenda a year ago.
It’s his grand final today. I don’t think the 4950 metres will present any dramas for him. He stays all day.
“We’ve done lots of schooling over jumps with him and used the local beaches a lot in preparation for this race.
“We topped him off for this race at Sandown when he ran (fourth) in a 4000-metre flat race on Wednesday.”
Jervois, trained at Darren Weir’s Warrnambool stables, looms as the likely winner of the feature jumping race at the two-day carnival following his unlucky second placing behind Palmero in the Von Doussa Steeplechase on Saturday.
Weir’s Warrnambool foreman Daniel Bowman said the eight-year-old had pulled up well after his effort on Saturday.
“Jervois is staying at Murray Bridge. He ate up on Saturday night and showed no ill effects from his run in the Von Doussa,” Bowman said.
“Jervois went for a swim in the Murray River on Sunday morning just to freshen him up and he’s as bright as a button. He was doing his best work at the end of the Von Doussa so you would think the Great Eastern should suit.”
Ciaron Maher, who has stables at Caulfield and Winslow, saddles up Jooli Lad in the Great Eastern.
The eight-year-old ran eighth behind his stablemate Palmero in the Von Doussa. Maher believes Jooli Lad will appreciate the 4950 metres of the Great Eastern.
Maher won his second $100,000 Von Doussa when Palmero took out the 3250-metre race by more than six lengths on Saturday.
Maher, who previously won the race with Al Garhood in 2010, heaped praise on champion jockey Steve Pateman for his winning ride.
“It was a brilliant ride by Steve,” he said. “Palmero jumped great... He’s won five of his seven jumps starts.
“We’ll get him ready for the Brierly Steeplechase on the first day at the Warrnambool carnival.”
Palmero picked up $65,000 in stake money for his connections with the victory