Grand Annual/Cup Day At 'The Bool'

Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase 2014. Image courtesy of:
33 fences and 5.5km must be navigated in Warrnambool's Grand Annual Steeplechase. Image courtesy of:

The three-day Warrnambool Carnival winds up on Thursday with the running of the Warrnambool Cup (2350m) and the jumps feature, the Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m).

Contested over hill and dale around the Warrnambool track, the Grand Annual Steeplechase its a test of staying power and jleaping skills. There are 33 jumps to negotiate over the 5.5km trip. It is 2.3km longer than the Melbourne Cup, which other than a few stray seagulls at Flemington, has no obstacles on the course. Horses run clockwise and anti-clockwise, with several sharp turns along the way. Track knowledge is vital for a race which dates back to 1872.

In the 2015 edition, Patrick Payne's Chaparro defends the crown he won on a heavy surface 12 months ago. Stable mate Lord Of The Song , who finished a distant third last year but meets Chaparro 3kg better at the weights, is the top pick, especially if he jumps cleanly. Improving mare Regina Coeli is chasing her third straight win over the big fences and is a major threat.

There are plenty of chances in the Cup, but two form runners from the Darren Weir yard definitely the ones to beat. With Mark Zahra in the saddle, Tooleybuc Kid is chasing three on the trot, while import Tall Ships is searching for four consecutive victories and has regular stable rider Brad Rawiller aboard.      

Topweight Shoreham is a chance to turn the tables on Tooleybuc Kid, while veteran Count Encosta is another Weir runner with undeniable claims.


Chris Bombolas - Tatts Senior Writer

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