ORFORD trainer Anne McGrath will call on the services of an apprentice jumps jockey to ride her tough jumper Mannertone in a restricted steeplechase at Warrnambool on August 9.
Mannertone lumped 70kg with Warrnambool jumps jockey Braidon Small in the saddle on the way to a narrow victory over Aldous and My Four Oh Mine in a $30,000 race at Bendigo on Sunday.
“Mannertone is just a B grade jumper, but believe me he’s a bloody good B grader,” McGrath said.
“He’s won eight jumps starts and has been in the minor placings on 10 occasions.
“He’s probably four to five lengths behind the top ranking jumpers.
“He’s a difficult horse to place now because he’s so consistent.
“Hence the reason I have to put an apprentice on him at Warrnambool.
“His weight at Warrnambool will probably be 72kg, so I have had to claim on him.
“It’ll be bad luck for Braidon, as he has done a great job and he understands Mannertone so well.
“But I’ve got to give a bit of weight relief for the horse.”
From 89 starts, Mannertone has earnt more than $315,000 in prizemoney for his connections.
WORK TO DO
POPULAR Koroit jumper Hornets Nest faces a race against time to run in the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown on August 5.
Trainer James McNamara scratched Hornets Nest from the Drechsler Hurdle on Sunday when stewards upgraded the track to a good four after the first three races on the all-day jumps program.
“I was glad the stewards upgraded the track before the Drechsler, it gave me a get-out clause,” McNamara said.
“I had a good look at the track when we got to there and I thought it was too hard. I wanted to scratch Hornets Nest.
“I just never wanted to run him.
“He’s been a pet and has been a great horse for us.
“It’s all about the welfare of the horse from where I’m coming from.
“It’s no-ones fault, they just have not had the rain up at Bendigo. It’s very dry up there.
“We got to Lake Bolac and I noticed how dry the countryside was and I started worrying how the track would be at Bendigo.”
Hornets Nest’s preparation for a Grand National Hurdle start will centre around work on the treadmill after missing the Drechsler Hurdle.
“He’ll be doing a lot of his work on the treadmill over the next few days to prepare him for the Grand National,” McNamara said.
“The treadmill is not the ideal preparation for Hornets Nest going to the Grand National, but there’s nothing we can do about that now.
“He’s had three starts back from a spell.
“But only one of those was a jumps start.
“We’ll enter him for the Grand National Hurdle and on the same day there’s a restricted hurdle.
“So we’ll put in an entry for that race and work out which way we go once we get closer.”
The image of jumps racing suffered a blow at the Bendigo race day.
Seven horses fell and one was put down at the feature jumps meeting.
The question is now being asked if Bendigo is a suitable track for jumps racing after many trainers said that the surface was too hard for the sport.
A GOOD RUN
A Good Yarn took his record to two wins from three starts on the synthetic track at Geelong after an impressive five-length victory over Booradley and The Bont on Friday.
Warrnambool trainer Merv McKenzie said A Good Yarn, who has won three of his six starts, had always showed ability.
“He’s always shown us a bit,”McKenzie said.
“A Good Yarn had a bad attitude when he first came into work.
“Luke Williams did a lot of the early work trying to sort the horse out.
“And then Mark Warren and Tennielle Onyett have also done wonderful jobs trying to keep A Good Yarn on track.
"There’s another race on the synthetic at Geelong coming up in a few weeks time.
“And, in the back of my mind, I’ve also got races over the sprint distance at Moonee Valley, so we’ve got a few options open for the horse.”
A Good Yarn took his stake earnings to more than $38,000 with his win.
McKenzie’s other handy galloper Big Reel is out for six months with a fractured off-front knee.
CHAMPION jumps jockey Steven Pateman was outed by stewards on a careless riding charge after his ride on Sea King in the Mosstropper Steeplechase at Bendigo on Sunday.
Pateman pleaded guilty to the charge, which related to an incident near the 1000 metre mark when he let Sea King shift in when not clear of Wells, which had to be checked.
His suspension started at midnight on July 22.
It will end at the conclusion of the second jumps race at Sandown on August 5 – a total of three jumps races.
Stewards deemed the incident was in the low range.
Fellow jumps jockey Darryl Horner pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge after riding Ross’s Point in a highweight flat race.
Horner can resume riding at the conclusion of the second jumps race at Sandown on August 5.