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Eric Musgrove has praised the Warrnambool Racing Club for reintroducing the novice steeplechase on the middle day of the Warrnambool three-day carnival.

The novice steeplechase was run for many years before jumps racing suffered as horse numbers dwindle.

Jumps racing has undergone a resurgence in recent years and of the 30 races at this year’s carnival, eight are over the obstacles.

“I know the club was a bit sceptical about it but in the old days it was a novice and the horses weren’t to the level they are now,” Musgrove said.

“They’ve been very good races the two years they’ve run it again and any of those horses (today) could have run in the Brierly.

“They’re not second-rate horses.”

Wednesday’s novice steeplechase was a keenly contested affair with Musgrove’s Pentomatic scoring a half-head win from Ascot Red with Solar Coaster the same margin off third.

Musgrove hopes to be back at next year’s carnival with third season jumper Pentomatic.

“In his first jumps preparation he was flat out getting 2800 metres,” Musgrove said.

“I won two Grand Annuals with a horse called Hiberian Prince.

“I know he had won over 2500 metres on the flat but he couldn’t get 2800 metres in a hurdle race and he ended up winning two Grand Annuals.

“They do improve with seasoning. They learn to relax and run the journey.”

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