OVER: Richard Cully and Wells are well clear of the field as they clear the last fence in the Grand National Steeplechase. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric FormerchampionjumpsjockeyCraigDurdengaineddeepsatisfactionfromthewin ofWellsinthe $350,000 GrandNationalSteeplechase, 4500m, in Ballarat on Sunday.
DurdenwontwoGrandNationalSteeplechasesasajockeyandpreparedWellswithwifeKathryntowinthe feature event two years ago.
Wellsmissedthe race last season followingsurgeryforajointinfection, whichDurdensaidallowedthenine-year-oldtomatureandcopewiththerigoursofracing.
WithWellsgaininghissecondvictory in the classic, it means onlytwohorseshavewontheGrandNationalinthepastfiveyears afterBashboysuccessfulin2012,2013and2015.
TheGrandNational Steeplechase pathwasalmostbroughtundonebyaboutofcolicasWellspreparedtoheadtotheCrispSteeplechaseatSandownonAugust7.
BALLARAT Turf Club chief executive officer Lachlan McKenzie said all the work and expense incurred by the club to ensure the new feature meeting went ahead had been well worth it.
He said while Racing Victoria had provided Financial support to ensure a couple of sections of the track battling to cope with a wetter than usual winter were fit for racing, thebulkof the cost had been met by the club as an investment in the future.
The BTC originally planned to run a two-day jumps carnival on Saturday and Sunday, but wasreduced to the one day because of the track issues.
McKenzie was pleased with the attendance of 2500 considering the inclement weather and uncertainty leading up to the race day, as well as the success of theinternational jockeys’ challenge.
He said he had nodoubt this figure could be grown to 5000 in years to come.
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