CHAMPION jumps jockey Steve Pateman has urged top trainer Ciaron Maher to consider running Bit Of A Lad in the $350,000 Grand Annual Steeplechase next Thursday after the eight-year-old put in a faultless jumping school at Warrnambool on Wednesday.
Bit Of A Lad, with Pateman in the saddle, schooled over 3600 metres and 17 fences in a final lead up to next week's carnival.
Maher, who trains in partnership David Eustace will enter Bit Of A Lad for the Brierly Steeplechase on the opening day and in the Grand Annual but Pateman hopes Victoria's leading trainers will run Bit Of A Lad in the Annual.
"It was a super school by Bit Of A Lad," he told The Standard.
"I've got my fingers crossed he'll run in the annual. The final decision is up to Ciaron and Dave.
"He's a classy jumper who is super efficient around Warrnambool.
"Bit Of A Lad has shown previously he can't run in both races.
"I don't think Bit Of A Lad can win the Brierly but he's going to give the annual a big shake."
The star jumper has run in the last three Grand Annuals with his best effort a fourth placing in the 2019 race.
"Bit Of A Lad has been unlucky to have run up against Zed Em, Ablaze and Gold Medals over the last three years," Pateman said.
"I think this years annual might be a bit lighter in quality. It could be Bit Of A Lad's chance to win the annual which I think he richly deserves."
Pateman has won the Grand Annual on three occasions. He was successful on Al Garhood in 2011, Awakening Dream in 2012 and Zed Em in 2019.
39-year-old Pateman has earned over $12 million in his 21-year career and boasts a winning percentage of 24 per cent.
The jumps legend has steered 419 horses to victory lane in his decorated riding career.
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