There’s rarely a jumps race run in Victoria or South Australia that doesn’t have representation from trainer Eric Musgrove.
He’s a household name in the jumps fraternity and last week had the thrill of seeing Karasi, a horse he trained to win three Grand Jumps in Japan, join Crisp as the only jumpers in the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame.
With both the Australian Hurdle and Steeplechase to be run at Sandown on Saturday, Musgrove, who has almost 400 career jumps wins to his credit, saddles multiple runners in each race.
He’s got four in the Australian Hurdle – Urban Explorer, Flying Casino, Four Carat and Mystic Prince.
Zataglio and Abebe will contest the Australian Steeplechase.
His assistant Belinda Simpson also saddles Strike The Stars, a horse Musgrove part-owns, in the hurdle.
Three on his contestants in Saturday’s hurdle are newcomers to jumping while Urban Explorer is an eight-time winner from 26 jumps starts.
“Three of them are young but are promising horses and they deserve a crack at it,” Musgrove said.
“But it will be very hard to beat two of them, Self Sense and Two Hats.
“I think they’re the standouts, but a lot can happen.
“Riders can give them a bad ride. You’ve got to make sure they jump well, have no bad luck and then you’re some sort of chance.”
Musgrove also had Abebe entered for the hurdle but with such a strong hand elected to run over the bigger jumps.
He’s mixed hurdling and steeplechasing this season, winning the feature Yalumba Classic Hurdle at Oakbank at Easter.
“We took him to Oakbank for the Von Doussa (Steeplechase) but he didn’t get the chance to school over the course, which they need to do, and he jumped a bit careful and ran an ordinary race,” Musgrove said.
“That’s why a fortnight later we elected to run him in the Yalumba Classic.
“He’s a handy hurdler and we want to transition to the fences but he needs a bit of experience.
“He’s probably still a bit new to come into calculations but he’s in there getting the experience.”
Zataglio is backing up following a win at Casterton last week over the live hedges.
“He’s probably looking for the ground to be a little bit heavier than what it’s going to be but he’s done everything right and deserves to be there.”