Some of Australia’s most talented jumpers will grace Morphettville on Saturday for the Grand National Steeplechase and Hurdle races.
The Morphettville card will kick off with the Grand National Steeplechase and we should see a field of eight jumpers tackle the 3500m. In a great sign for our local jumping stocks, half of the field will be locally trained runners with Grant Young and Barry Brook both with two chances a piece.
2017 Great Eastern Steeplechase winner Spying on You looks to be a strong chance for Young and will be ridden by the experienced Tom Ryan who won this race back in 2012. Brook’s best chance looks to be Searaven who last claimed victory at Oakbank in the Steeplechase on Easter Monday with Richard Cully aboard. The two will combine again on Saturday as they aim to add a Grand National win to their CV.
Race favourite will be the Eric Musgrove trained Lucques who has never missed a placing over the jumps with three wins and two thirds from his five starts. He finished third in both the Galleywood at Warrnambool and the Australian Hurdle at Sandown, which looks to be great form for this race.
Patrick Payne’s Speedy Jax is the other runner who has been well supported in the market and has won both of his last two races over the jumps. Payne won this race two years ago with his talented jumper Angelology and will be looking for a second victory here with the former Kiwi jumper who will be ridden by Adam Roustoby, the jockey who has ridden him to his last two wins.
The Grand National Hurdle is an event that has been dominated by Eric Musgrove over the years, with the master jumps trainer claiming this race seven times over his career, including the last two editions with Abebe and Mystic Prince.
Musgrove will saddle up three runners in this race on Saturday including the topweight Mr One Eleven. He’ll be ridden by champion jumps jockey Steven Pateman, who has won this race four times in his career including two times for Musgrove.
Three former Adelaide Cup runners will take their place in the Hurdle field on Saturday including 2017 runner-up Double Bluff. The Aaron Purcell trained eight-year-old has only had three starts over the hurdles but was a convincing winner last start at Sandown where defeated Euroman, who is the early favourite for this race. Euroman bounced back from the Sandown defeat to record a victory at Casterton in his last start where he carried 70kgs to a one length victory for the Maher-Eustace stable and Steven Pateman.
South Australia will be well represented here again with runners from the Grant Young, Shane Oxlade and Barry Brook stables. Young’s Listed winner Exalted Lightning is two from four in his career over the jumps and a chance if he can capture his best form on the day. Shane Oxlade’s Cable Bay is an experienced campaigner over the jumps and will be buoyed by the services of the inform Tom Sadler on his back.