Darren Weir won out in a clash between two irrepressible forces in Australian racing in Wednesday’s Galleywood Hurdle at Warrnambool.
Weir, the runaway leader in the Victorian trainers’ premiership, prepared Gotta Take Care and Maythehorsebemagic while champion Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse continued her foray into the jumps scene with Valediction.
Waterhouse won a hurdle race with Tenby Lady on Tuesday while Valediction was out to continue the Tulloch Lodge trainer’s unbeaten run in jumps races.
Valediction set the pace along with Maythehorsebemagic until they started to tire approaching the second last hurdle.
John Allen brought Gotta Take Care, the $2.40 favourite, into the race approaching the last obstacle before the nine-year-old drove clear late to beat Montgomery ($4.20) by 3-1/4 lengths.
Valediction ($5) was another 12 lengths further back in third.
Gotta Take Care confirmed his versatility, posting his seventh hurdle win less than a week after he won on the flat at Flemington.
Weir said Gotta Take Care was destined for a limited career but combining flat and jumps racing have brought the best out of him.
“He was a slow horse until he went jumping,” Weir said.
“He won an 1800-metre maiden at Mildura and I said to the owners, `you either get rid of him or jump him’.
“Jumping just got him switched on. It’s a great advertisement for jumps racing.”
Waterhouse remained upbeat despite Valediction’s defeat, saying a lack of experience told on her jumper.
She said Valediction would continue his campaign in jumps races in the city.
“He gave a great sight jumping up in grade,” Waterhouse said. “He went from a $20,000 jumping race to $100,000 race so he did a great job.”
Outsider Gimme Some Savings had a late jockey change when Paul Gallagher was stood down for failing a breath test.
Gallagher had a blood alcohol content of .042, .022 above the allowed threshold, in his first test before a second test showed a reading of .030.
Patrick Flood answered a late call-up to ride Gimme Some Savings, arriving on track 20 minutes before the race.
Gimme Some Savings finished seventh.
Stewards opened and adjourned an inquiry into Gallagher’s failed test.