A crack at a record-equalling third Grand National Steeplechase win is on the horizon for 10-year-old Wells.
But first the gelding will try to claim a breakthrough win in the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown.
The Kathryn Durden-trained Wells headlines nominations for Sunday’s $125,000 Crisp Steeplechase (3900m), a traditional lead-up to the Grand National (4500m) which will be run at Ballarat two weeks later.
Wells won his first jumps start of this year in the Mosstrooper Steeplechase (3600m) at Bendigo on July 23 having been a late scratching from his planned seasonal jumps reappearance in the Australian Steeplechase at Sandown in May when he cut his head in a float mishap.
Wells was scheduled to run in last year’s Crisp but was scratched after suffering a bout of colic on race morning.
He went on to claim his second Grand National a couple of weeks later – he won his first in 2014 – and if successful again later this month would join modern-day jumps star Bashboy as the only three-time winners.
“For me, you just take each race as it comes,” Durden said.
“The horse is well and is doing everything right. You just keep going towards that aim and just be methodical. That’s all you’ve got to be.”
Durden was thrilled to see Wells win the Mosstrooper when he got the better of Zed Em over the concluding stages.
It showed he was again a force to be reckoned with in the late-season steeplechases.
“He seems his normal self,” Durden said.
“He’s a good, honest horse and we’re happy with everything he’s doing.”
Wells is suited under the set weights plus penalties conditions of the Crisp, with the 12 nominations also including Australian Steeplechase winner Gold Medals and last year’s winner I’ll’ava’alf.
“All of these races are hard to win but he’s well in himself,” Durden said.
“He has pulled up well from the Mosstrooper and we’re happy with our horse. So that’s the main thing.”
Sunday’s program features the $200,000 Grand National Hurdle (3900m) which has 17 nominations including Sea King.
The Group Three weight-for-age Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) was added to meeting after it was one of five races abandoned at Caulfield last Saturday.
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