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Image: Brett Holburt
Social Element has extended his winning to four over jumps, claiming the Crisp Steeplechase

The Grand National Steeplechase now beckons for Social Element after he extended his winning streak to four over jumps at Sandown.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained jumper added the Crisp Steeplechase (4200m) to his record with a faultless display on Sunday.

Having spent more than 18 months on the sidelines, Social Element returned to racing with one flat run in June before heading to the jumps to record the first of four successive steeplechase victories.

Now the Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) at Ballarat on August 29 awaits.

With regular rider Tommy Ryan aboard, Social Element registered an eight-length win from Ablaze with Flying Agent three-quarters-of-a-length away third.

Alva Prendergast, the Melbourne representative for Waterhouse and Bott, said the stable had reservations about the rise in trip following Social Element’s previous victories.

“But it looked like the further he was going, the stronger he was getting,” Prendergast said.

“Hopefully onwards and upwards to the next test in the National.

“I’m normally quite nervous when we go to the jumps but this horse is something else.

“Everyone has said he’s been a good horse but today he had to show everybody that he was and to do it so convincingly, we’re very lucky to have him.”

Ryan said Social Element had continued to improve with every outing, although he did hold concerns early in Sunday’s race about Social Element handling conditions the first time up the Sandown hill.

“I was worried when we jumped out of the gates because it is so much heavier up the back,” Ryan said.

“I know he’s handled the heavy at Warrnambool, but he was labouring early and I thought I might be in trouble.

“But we came onto the course proper the first time and he just came alive and he passed Ablaze because of the better ground and when in front I just left him there.

“I think he’s better on better ground, but I know that probably won’t happen at Ballarat in a few weeks’ time, but I think better ground is better for him.”

 
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