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The last of the feature jumps races for the season will be held at Ballarat on Sunday, where it is Grand National Steeplechase Day. The weather forecast is for showers, the track is heavy (10) and the rail is out five metres from the 2000m-1400m; True for the remainder.

Grand National Steeplechase 🏆: View the Field for the Grand National Steeplechase

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Race 1. (13:00) Sportsbet Gotta Take Care Hrdl 4000m

Back Me

I feel Wolfe Tone is the best horse in the race, but with a heavy track on the cards (heavy 11/12 more so than a 10), I’m looking away from him. I’m in the corner of 3 Eckhart (Bet Now: $2.90) for Patrick Payne. Been kept on ice since his maiden hurdle win, which came at Pakenham where he bolted up by 15 lengths in what was a very impressive start to his jumping career. Tick over trials have been good and loves heavy ground.


1 Flying Agent (Bet Now: $3.00) spanked them in the Maiden Hurdle at this meeting last year, so he’s a proven performer on bottomless ground at Ballarat. Interesting he goes to the Hurdles again after tackling the Steeples in recent times, where he has been pretty sharp, the latest run seeing him finish second to The Dominator. Hard to beat on current form.

Long Shot

A heavy track has 4 San Remo (Bet Now: $8.00) certainly in the mix. He contested a Hurdle at Sandown on Grand National Hurdle Day where he battled away really gamely in defeat behind Wolfe Tone. With a heavy track, I think he can turn the tables, so near double figures for him I think is definitely overs with conditions to suit.

Race 2. (13:40) Hygain Winners Choice Mdn Hrdl 3400m

Back Me

I’m a bit surprised 4 Cheners (Bet Now: $16.00) is the odds he is. Admittedly he’s had 13 cracks to break the maiden over the Hurdles, but I thought he was really good in defeat last Sunday at Coleraine in the Coleraine Hurdle when second to Northern Voyage. That was a strongly run race, so back to Maiden company, each way at $15+, he’ll do me.


1 Ablestock (Bet Now: $3.10) makes his jumps debut and has the Patrick Payne polish so he demands respect for sure. Hasn’t raced since July 28 when making ground late behind Prince Alby at Moe. Couple of jumps trials subsequent to get ready for this race, and the heavy track should be no issue for him. Hard to beat.

Long Shot

5 Infinite Reign (Bet Now: $7.00) needs to improve on recent outings, but is certainly capable given I’m keen on a horse that has had 13 cracks. Ran over 2000m at Moe last time out and stuck to the task pretty well in defeat when third to Hazard Ahead. Heavy ground should be okay for him and Shane Jackson takes over.

Race 3. (14:20) How Good Jumps Mdn Hrdl 3200m

Back Me

You’d be shocked if 3 Home By Midnight (Bet Now: $1.80) gets rolled here. Launceston Cup winner who resumed at Flemington in what was pretty much a sit/sprint and given he was first up, he didn’t have the speed in the legs to go with them late. Finds a very weak maiden hurdle and provided he does everything right, he should be much too good.


7 Wazuzu (Bet Now: $3.80) loves heavy ground and does look the only threat to Home By Midnight. His last run came over 3100m at Warrnambool where he was there to beat the hard fit/in form Jukila, but that horse just kicked on too strongly and won. Unfortunately he bumps into a pretty solid flat horse, but should run second.

Long Shot

2 First Crush (Bet Now: $13.00) could provide some value at odds. He is on the quick back up after racing in a Coleraine Maiden Hurdle last Sunday where he was ridden patiently and worked to the line pretty well late, albeit beaten over 12 lengths by dominant winner Rexmont. Harder here, so not sure he wins, but is hard fit, racing okay and gets the Blinkers on.

Race 4. (15:00) Jj Houlahan Hrdl 3200m

Back Me

3 Northern Voyage (Bet Now: $2.25) just has to produced what he did when winning last Sunday and he’ll win again. Sustained speed from the front saw him bolt up in the Coleraine Hurdle, winning by 15 lengths. Did run second in this race last year to Ablaze and there is no horse of that class here. He’s clearly the one to beat.


7 Instigator (Bet Now: $3.50) rises a bit in depth/grade, but overall, this isn’t a strong race, so he’s in the mix for sure. Ran in a Hurdle at Sandown and stuck to the task pretty well in defeat behind an impressive Wolfe Tone. He handles heavy okay, but I wouldn’t say he’s a swimmer. But given the lack of depth, he’s a threat.

Long Shot

6 Tiger Tim (Bet Now: $21.00) could be the big blowout back onto a heavy track. Eric Musgrove trained jumper that has raced on dry decks at his past couple and hasn’t been too bad without really threatening. He is a horse who prefers it the wetter the better and does have a liking for Ballarat, so he is value for sure at $30+.

Race 5. (15:45) Ecycle Solutions Stpl (bm120) 3200m

Back Me

With 1 The Dominator (Bet Now: $3.70). Another who will love getting back to a heavy track after racing on soft ground his past couple. Soft 7 when bolting up at Pakenham two back and he loves getting his toe in, which is what he will get here. Also tends to race best when leading so if he can harness some energy in front, he’ll take a power of beating.


3 Ascot Red (Bet Now: $2.10) looks ready to win for the Maher/Eustace team. Ran over 3100m at Warrnambool last time out in a flat race and I thought he closed off really well from back in the run when second to the in form Jukila. Saves his best for when the track is heavy and did win this race last year. Hard to beat.

Long Shot

4 So Belafonte (Bet Now: $7.00) has the heavy track Ballarat experience under the bolt, and is trained here, so should hold him in good stead for this. Just copped too much heat on speed last time out at Casterton in a total forgive I thought. If he can get a decent drag up via The Dominator, he could be a knockout chance.

Race 6. (16:25) Grand National Steeplechase 4500m

Back Me

3 Bee Tee Junior (Bet Now: $2.80) on top in what should be a cracking edition of the Grand National. He was so game in defeat in the Grand National Hurdle, closing off hard late to get within a length of Ablaze. IMO, the heavier the better for Bee Tee Junior and with a significant weight pull, I’m leaning his way, but only just.


If this track was a Soft6/7, I’d happily take $1.50 for 1 Ablaze (Bet Now: $1.95). Just the 72kg impost on a bottomless track worries me with him because two back on heavy ground in the Stayers Cup at Rosehill, he was awful. I think he’s much better on firmer decks, so that’s the knock, but his Hurdle win last start was outstanding and he’s the best jumper in Australia.

Long Shot

7 Accounted (Bet Now: $20.00) For is the sleeper. He didn’t beat a great deal last Sunday at Coleraine, but gee the manner in which he put them away was very impressive and as the race went on, he got better. Off that, the 4500m here should be no issue…does he want it too heavy? Time will tell, but is a sleeper at odds.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Three Number 3 Home By Midnight

NEXT BEST: Race Four Number 3 Northern Voyage

LONG SHOT: Race Two Number 4 Cheners


Quaddie Tips (Races Three Through To Six):

Leg One: 3

Leg Two: 3

Leg Three: 1, 3, 4, 5

Leg Four: 1, 3

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