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Image: Bruno Cannatelli

Dual licence holder Clayton Douglas has added a first win in the Australian Steeplechase to his victory aboard Gold Medals in the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool.

A year after dumping his rider on the way to the start when favourite for the Australian Hurdler, Riding High has returned to Sandown to claim the Australian Steeplechase.

This time Riding High, under the guidance of Clayton Douglas, upset favourite backers on a horse that trainer Henry Dwyer described as “buzzy”.

Settling behind the speed, Riding High ($5) took over soon after straightening, racing to a seven-length win from the $2.05 Neds favourite Michelin with Rexmont ($11) five lengths away third.

Dwyer, a Group 1 winning trainer, described winning a feature jumps race as exciting.

“You win Group 1’s and that sort of stuff but there’s no greater feeling than winning a feature jumps race with a nice horse,” Dwyer said.

“It’s a good sport, the jumps enthusiasts love it. Whether it’s risk and reward, I don’t know, but winning a jumps race is a huge thrill.”

Dwyer was planning to head to Hamilton on Tuesday week for a steeplechase but after seeing the small nominations and acceptances, thought chasing a feature win was worth the chance.

“We knew there were issues and excuses for his previous runs but we still didn’t know how he was going,” Dwyer said.

“We just wanted to get him back in the winner’s circle, really, so Hamilton was going to be the task.

“But when we saw the nominations and acceptances, we thought we’d roll the dice and have a shot.”

For Douglas, Sunday’s victory followed his success on Gold Medals in the Grand Annual Steeplechase earlier in the month.

Douglas is successfully combining training and riding and Sunday’s victory was his first Australian Steeplechase success.

“It’s been a good race for me. I’ve run a few placings but I’ve never been able to win it, so it’s good to get the monkey off the back,” Douglas said.

“I’m working really hard. I’ve got a great bunch of people supporting me and I’ve got a good group of staff.

“That’s what you need, a lot of good people behind the scenes and I’m very appreciative.”

 
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