One of the best CV’s in Australian racing has received an unlikely update with Valediction winning the Brierly Steeplechase for Gai Waterhouse.
Waterhouse has been a regular figure at Warrnambool in recent times and Tuesday’s success was her first win at the three-day carnival.
She has two undeniable chances for important wins on the final day on Thursday.
Valediction went to the top of betting for the Grand Annual Steeplechase while Waterhouse will also saddle Cafe Society in the Warrnambool Cup.
Ridden by Brad McLean, Valediction ($3.80) scored a four-length win over King Triton ($15) with Danzadoozie ($8.50) five lengths away third.
McLean he will be replaced by Tom Ryan on Valediction in Thursday’s 5500m race with 33 jumps to negotiate.
Waterhouse was over the moon with the victory of Valediction who was sent over from New Zealand.
The son of Zabeel has now won four of his 16 starts over jumps and more than $200,000 prize money.
“Didn’t he do it easily,” Waterhouse said.
“He was never out of a canter and what’s he going to do on Thursday.
“It’s a huge thrill and the horse has just come of age.
“Half the battle of winning a Grand Annual is having the horse.”
It was McLean’s second Brierly success after guiding Cats Fun to victory in 2013.
While McLean said the win was bittersweet he noted the rise in trip from Tuesday’s 3450m to 5500m on Thursday wouldn’t pose a concern for the gelding after he was eased down over the final 100m.
“I think he will love another lap,” McLean said.
“He gets in a rhythm and keeps going providing he jumps well which he did today.
“He’s on the up and he gets in with a light weight.
“All I had to do today was come here and get the job done.”
Thubiaan, who was sent out the $3.30 favourite, finished fourth under his topweight of 70kg, finishing almost 10 lengths from the winner.
Jockey Martin Kelly said Thubiaan put an end to his chances with a poor jump at the third-last obstacle.
A decision on whether he backs up in the Grand Annual will be made on Wednesday.