ROLAND Garros, aided by a bold front-running ride from jumps jockey Willie McCarthy, gave the powerful Ciaron Maher-David Eustace stable victory in Sunday's $60,000 Great Western Steeplechase.
McCarthy opened up a big lead on Roland Garros mid-race before the eight-year-old started to shorten his stride in the straight but he had enough in hand to beat the top-weight Bee Tee Junior and Power Of Words in the 3600-metre race at Coleraine on Sunday.
The Irish-born jumps jockey said Roland Garros met the 14 fences in good style.
"It was a brilliant jumping display by Roland Garros," McCarthy said.
"I think it's useless trying to hold up horses like him, I just let him run. He's a free-running horse.
"He never had the conditions to suit today as he's better on wet tracks so it was a good effort. I think there's still bit of improvement in him."
Declan Maher, who oversees the jumping horses for the Maher-Eustace stable, said Roland Garros would aim for a restricted steeplechase at Ballarat on August 28.
"It's the last jumps meeting for the season, if he pulls up well after this we'll run him at Ballarat," he said,
"The win was extra special as Roland Garros is owned by the Corboy family and they have been family friends for many years.
"We've got to give credit to Willie, Steven Pateman and Selim Agbal. They have all done a lot of work improving Roland Garros' manners over the jumps. I think a race like next year's Brierly Steeplechase at the Warrnambool May Carnival might be on the cards for him."
The Leek family trained two of the four jumps winners on the seven-race Coleraine program. John Leek was successfully with Castrofrancaru in a maiden hurdle while his wife Andrea won a restricted hurdle with Heir To The Throne.
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