PROMISING jumper Vanguard has made a full recovery after slipping on the flat in the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase on May 5.
Vanguard was well-backed to win the Annual following his win over stablemate Britannicus in the Brierly Steeplechase.
Trainer Symon Wilde said the New Zealand-bred galloper took a few days to get over the mishap.
"Vanguard suffered some general soreness after the fall," Wilde said. "We gave Vanguard a few days off following the fall. I started riding Vanguard in a bit of work last week. He feels really good after having the few days off. We'll be increasing his track-work this week as we prepare him for races like the Thackeray and Crisp Steeplechases. We've always had a bit of an opinion of the horse since he came from New Zealand, and that has not changed after some nice runs for us."
The Thackeray Steeplechase is run at Warrnambool on July 3, while Sandown hosts the Crisp Steeplechase on August 7.
Training ranks at Hamilton will get a big boost later this week with the arrival of international horseman Craig Thornton.
The New Zealand-born Thornton was a successful jumps jockey before turning his hand to training, where he's had success in various parts of the world. Thornton had his first Australian runner with El Gladiador running at Flemington on Saturday.
"I'll be moving into the on-course stables at Hamilton late this week," he said. "I'll have room for 30 horses at the facility. It's an exciting time and I'm really happy with the facilities. I've been at Quinton Scott's Crossley stables for the past couple of months while I find my feet. Initially, I'll have four horses in work, but my numbers will increase with time. I've got a lot of young horses back in New Zealand, which will come over for me to train once I've set things up at Hamilton. We've got to put systems in place and employ staff before we bring horses over from New Zealand."
Thornton was pleased with the performance of El Gladiador at Flemington on Saturday.
"I was quite happy with the run of El Gladiador," he said. "I would say he just peaked on his run but he'll be a lot better for that effort. There's a similar type of race at Flemington in a fortnight we may run El Gladiador in next time."
The five-year-old has won seven of his 33 starts.
Warrnambool trainer Tom Dabernig ticked another item off his bucket list, winning a race at Mount Gambier last week. Maatsuyker won a maiden plate over 1817 metres by six lengths for the popular trainer.
"I haven't had that many runners at Mount Gambier over the years, but it's great to get a winner there," he said. "I was very happy with the performance of Maatsuyker. It was a good win. He hit the line strongly and may have his next run over 2000 metres at Flemington in a fortnight."
Dabernig is excited to have moved into his new on-course stables at Warrnambool on Saturday.
"It's been a time in the making, but it's all behind us," Dabernig said. "It's a wonderful facility. We'll have a few teething issues, but once we're over them, the facility will be a game-changer for our stable."
Meanwhile, it didn't take long for Dabernig to have his first winner from his new complex. Sonaree won a $50,000 benchmark 70 race at Sandown on Sunday. The eight-year-old put the writing on the board for an upcoming win, with a fourth placing at his last start in heavy going at Warrnambool on May 4.
Dabernig had been training from three different locations around Warrnambool since he moved here in July last year while the new complex was being built.
Constantinople should end up being one of the top hurdlers, according to his trainer Aaron Purcell.
The Warrnambool-based trainer was excited Constantinople ran second at his jumps debut in a restricted hurdle at Sandown on Sunday.
"It was a huge run by Constantinople," Purcell said. "He was a long way in front at various stages of the race and they were always going to have the last crack at him. He raced against seasoned performers and never let us down. Constantinople pulled a bit hard in the run and put in a couple of sticky jumps but he's going to improve a lot after that run. We'll have a look at the racing calendar to find a suitable race for his next start. There are a few options open to us. I'm quietly confident with a bit of experience under his belt; he'll develop into one of the top jumpers in the future."
Constantinople ran fifth in the 2021 Warrnambool Cup for the Hayes stable before running third in this year's cup for Purcell. The six-year-old was unplaced in the 2019 Melbourne Cup when trained by Hayes.
Jockey Joe Bowditch will be on the sidelines for nine meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge on Shiny Rock at Wangaratta on Sunday.
Bowditch's suspension started at midnight on May 22 and ends midnight May 29. Stewards deemed the incident to be in the low range before handing down the penalty.
Apprentice Laura Lafferty copped an eight meeting suspension for a whip infringement at Flemington on Saturday. Her suspension begins at midnight on May 28 and finishes midnight June 5.
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