CIARON Maher says Steven Pateman is the best jumps jockey in the land. He should know.
Maher and Pateman first met when they were starting out working for the famous Hayes family in South Australia more than a decade ago and have been great mates ever since.
Their relationship just keeps being strengthened with major race victories like yesterday.
Maher said Pateman’s ride couldn’t be underestimated because of the skill needed to temper Palmero’s aggressive style without compromising his brilliance.
Yesterday’s win was more than just a race triumph for Pateman. He fought a public battle to have stewards reduce a restriction that he could only accept rides at 67.5kg or more in the lead-up to the carnival.
While the 30-year-old rode Palmero at 69kg yesterday, he can comfortably ride at 67kg after getting advice to change his exercise program and diet.
It was Pateman’s second Brierly triumph after he rode Some Are Bent to victory in 2010.
“Unreal,” he said.
“It’s such a special week for us and they’re all good races.”
Pateman could get a chance to add a third Grand Annual win in four years tomorrow if Palmero backs up.
“He’s pulled up good,” he said.
“He’s had a hard race, no horse would have an easy race on that ground. It will be a massive effort but I’m confident the horse and especially the trainer know how to overcome that.
“We gave him a really easy 10 days coming into it to try and leave a bit of juice for Thursday.”
He said Palmero’s effort first-time at Warrnambool was special despite a couple of nervous moments he described as “jockey error”.
“It’s a specialist track and he’d never raced here and had to overcome a lot. It makes the win even more creditable,” he said.
“He’s such a quality horse.”