JUMPING up in distance has been the key reason for the success of New Zealand-bred galloper Cotton Eye Joe at his last two starts, according to Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde.
Cotton Eye Joe beat Young Lucas by a length to win a restricted race over 2000 metres at Warrnambool on Monday.
Wilde said the five-year-old had been disappointing at his previous runs before winning his last two races.
"The jump in distance has really switched Cotton Eye Joe around," he said.
"I must admit I was getting a bit worried about his future until he went up in distance.
"I think he's going to be better over more ground and on wet tracks.
"We might look at a race over 2400 metres next time."
Harry Grace rode Cotton Eye Joe and also snared win aboard Adelabelle.
Wilde, who is enjoying a career best training season, said Cotton Eye Joe had trialled well over the jumps and that was the long term goal for the horse.
"I would say his long term future is in jumps races," he said.
"We kept him ticking over for today's race with a hurdle trial last week and he went well in the trial.
"Cotton Eye Joe is a stable favourite because a few of our staff have shares in him.
"I don't think he's going to make the top grade but I think his owners will have a bit of fun with him in distance flat races and over the jumps in the future."
Cotton Eye Joe has won more then $26,000 in prizemoney from his last two wins.
Warrnambool trainer Lindsey Smith took the training honours with three winners.
He was successful with Aeecee Dolce, It's Classified and Rojean while the jockey honours were shared between Jarrod Fry and Grace.
Both rode doubles - Fry on Come Along Jeffrey and It's Classified.
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