Novice fencer Megapixel gave Warrnambool trainers Bill and Symon Wilde their biggest jumps success when he led all the way to land the Australian Steeplechase at Sandown.
The consistent jumper dispelled any doubts about his staying ability when he powered away up the home straight to score by eight lengths from New Zealand raider Roodyvoo and Grand National placegetter Al Karam, who was another 3-1/2 lengths away third.
It was Megapixel’s third win in nine jumps starts and his first in four attempts over fences.
Bill Wilde paid tribute to his son Symon who never lost faith that the son of Zabeel would run a strong 3900 metres in Saturday’s $100,000 feature despite fade-outs at his previous three steeplechase starts over shorter distances.
“Symon thought all along the horse would run the trip,” Wilde said.
“Because he has been caught out his last few starts there is always a little bit of a doubt but he’s a horse who loves life and loves jumping.”
A cast-off from the Lee Freedman stable after three starts as a three-year-old, Megapixel was bought for $5000 before joining the Wildes and winning his first start for them at Warrnambool in February 2010.
He didn’t win another race until he started jumping last year, twice scoring over hurdles despite showing a lack of respect for the obstacles.
“I wouldn’t say he is an exceptional jumper but he’s a very quick jumper,” Wilde said.
Megapixel made his steeplechase debut at Sandown in March when second to Phaze Action and was third to Tobouggie Nights in the Von Doussa Steeplechase at Oakbank and second to Fareer in the Brierly Steeplechase last start at Warrnambool on May 1.
Megapixel has a habit of overracing but jockey Tom Ryan had him relaxed and always travelling on Saturday.
“We thought the thing against him today might have been the (slow) ground as he prefers a dead track but Tom rode him very well,” Wilde said.
“He gave a bold display and we’re absolutely thrilled.”
He said a start in the Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) on July 29 was now being considered.
“We will discuss it with the owners,” Wilde said.
“I think he has a lot of upside to him.”