Trainer David Brideoake is loving his restored relationship with jumps racing.
A former Australian member of show jumping teams in Europe, Japan and America, Brideoake first burst onto the thoroughbred scene in the late 1990s, primarily with jumpers.
He drifted away from the sport after winning the 2003 jumps premiership to concentrate on an improving team of flat horses.
Self Sense gave Brideoake another feature jumps win of Saturday when he took out the Australian Hurdle at Sandown.
Sent off the $2.10 favourite under Clayton Douglas, Self Sense scored by six lengths from Two Hats ($7.50) with Honey Steel’s Gold ($17) 4-1/2 lengths away third.
Brideoake can’t believe the form Self Sense is showing.
A winner of the Ipswich Cup last year, Self Sense won a Pakenham maiden hurdle on April 15 before winning a $250,000 flat race at Caulfield six days later.
He then ran second in the Wagga Wagga Gold Cup on May 4 before Saturday’s return to jumping.
“It’s probably the best he’s gone over his whole career,” Brideoake said.
“I think what stokes his engine is mixing up his jumps training with his flat races and he thrives on it.”
Brideoake said Wish Come True sparked his interest in jumps racing again last year although Self Sense had been schooling for the best part of two years as part of his training.
He said Self Sense may eventually prove to be the best jumper he’s put a saddle on.
“I think he’s got more leg speed that the jumpers I trained back last century,” Brideoake said.
“They were steeplechasers on heavy ground and they couldn’t compete with this horse on the flat.
“I’m going to let the mud dry, see whether we take him to a flat race or take him to another hurdle race.
“The Brisbane Cup is something we have thought about but let’s just see what the next week brings us.”
Brideoake said if Self Sense doesn’t head to Brisbane he was likely to set the gelding for the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown in August
“That’s only his second jumps start today, so lets see how he progresses,” Brideoake said.