Two Hats to tackle Australian Hurdle at Sandown

HOPEFUL: Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell says top jumper Two Hats pulled up well after his Galleywood win. Picture: Rob Gunstone

HOPEFUL: Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell says top jumper Two Hats pulled up well after his Galleywood win. Picture: Rob Gunstone

EXCITING Warrnambool jumper Two Hats is ready to run in the $125,000 Australian Hurdle at Sandown on May 26.

Two Hats defeated Honey Steel’s Gold by more than three lengths with Ancient King in third place in the Galleywood Hurdle at the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival on May 2.

Trainer Aaron Purcell said the seven-year-old had pulled up well after his Galleywood victory.

“We’ve just taken him along slowly since the Galleywood,” Purcell said.

“He was right to win the Galleywood – that’s the race we wanted to win and he did.

“He’s got a bit of improvement in him going forward to the Australian Hurdle.

“It’s no secret we’ve always had a good opinion of Two Hats as a jumper.

“I would say after the Australian Hurdle we’ll look at a race like the Lafferty Hurdle as his next goal.”

Two Hats has won four of his seven jumps starts.

Meanwhile, Purcell admitted he was disappointed with the performance of his international galloper Snoano, running seventh at Caulfield on Saturday.

Snoano finished more than eight lengths behind eventual winner Riyadh in the 1600 metre race.

“I thought he would have run better going on his first run for us at Caulfield last month,” Purcell said.

“But we’ve seen before with international horses that we’ve trained they need some time to adapt to our racing and our training style.

“We’re still trying to work him out. I’m confident once we work him out and he adapts to our racing he’s going to be a handy type of horse.”

Snoano may have his next run at Moonee Valley on June 2.


KOROIT galloper Hornets’ Nest is only weeks away from making a return to the track after more than 38 weeks on the sidelines.

Hornets’ Nest will take part in a hurdle trial at Ballarat on Wednesday, before trainer James McNamara plans his next step with the 10-year-old.

“I’ve been waiting for the break in the weather and it’s here now,” McNamara said.

“Hornets’ Nest will go to Ballarat for a trial. I think we’ll trial him at Warrnambool next week and have a jump out or two.

“I’m thinking we may run him in a hurdle in early June.”

Hornets’ Nest has won three of his nine jumps starts.

McNamara revealed he had thought of running the popular horse in the Galleywood Hurdle at the Warrnambool May Carnival, earlier this month.

“It had crossed my mind to run him in the Galleywood,” the Koroit milk bar owner said. “He’s been very competitive in his jumps races when conditions suit.

“It was just too dry to run in the Galleywood, so I gave that idea away.

“His best form is on wet tracks. He’s been in work since before Christmas.

“There’s a few nice jumps races coming up over the next few months which should suit him.”

Hornets’ Nest’s connections parted with $2400 back in March 2012 for the former Anthony Freedman galloper.

He has earnt nearly $260,000 in stakemoney with wins on the flat and over jumps.


THE Australian Racing Hall Of Fame will announce its 2018 inductees on Wednesday.

There’s been plenty of speculation about who the 10 inductees (four horses, two jockeys, two trainers and two associates) will be, but there’s a strong push that one of Australia’s greatest jumping horses may have got a guernsey in the elite group plus a colourful jockey. The Hall Of Fame race day will be run around Australia this Saturday.


MAGIC Millions chief financial officer Claudette Luke was an interested spectator at the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival earlier this month.

Luke was impressed with the three-day carnival and vowed she will return to witness country racing at its very best.


IT’S 46 years since Rick Renzella pulled off the most audacious coup ever attempted in the racing game on Casterton Cup Day.

Renzalla swapped the crack sprinter Regal Vista for the bumble-footed Royal School in the Muntham Handicap.

The coup netted Renzella $33,570, but it also led to him being sentenced to two years in jail after a criminal trial.

Hamilton sprinter Apex Star was the favourite for the Muntham after wins at Hamilton and Warrnambool for respected trainer Jack Barling.

Punters who backed Royal School on the tote picked up $3.80 for a 50 cent investment, while those lucky enough to snare the double of Gay Demand in the Casterton Cup into Royal School got $111.90 for a 50 cent piece.

An off-the-cuff remark from Royal School’s jockey Stephen Wood that he was glad the race was over and that he would get $4000 for his troubles led to one of Australia’s most sensational racing inquiries.

The Casterton Cup will be run this weekend. 

Last year’s winner, Woolsthorpe Store, looks to be a likely runner again this time around after a second placing at the Warrnambool May Carnival.

The Michael O’Leary-trained Woolsthorpe Store scored a thrilling win over Gold Medals to win the 2017 event.

Inside Racing appears in The Standard every Tuesday.