Stawell trainer Terry O’Sullivan was on a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and England and oblivious to jumper Gold A Plenty winning the $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase at Warrnambool on Sunday.
Trained in partnership with his daughter Karina, Gold A Plenty, ridden by Irish-born jumps jockey Tommy Ryan prevailed by half-a-neck in a thrilling finish to the 3450-metre race.
The win denied Warrnambool brothers Patrick and Simon a home-town feature victory with their runners, hot favourite I’ll’ava’alf, second and Police Camp third.
Karina said Gold A Plenty was a stable favourite.
“Terry would be really excited,” she said. “He’s got no service on his phone for a few days. It was a great effort. He loves wet conditions but we thought he may have needed this run over the fences. We’ll push forward to the Mosstrooper Steeplechase before looking at the Grand National Steeplechase.”
First-seasoned jumper Self Sense scored an all-the-way victory in the other jumps feature the $100,000 Lafferty Hurdle. Aaron Purcell’s Two Hats was second and James McNamara’s Hornets’ Nest third.
Self Sense’s victory was jockey Clayton Douglas’ third feature win this season, claiming the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase and Australian Hurdle.
The day started badly for jumps supporters with Eric Musgrove’s Springbok Flyer suffering a fatal fall in a maiden hurdle. The incident was referred to the Jumps Review Panel.