The Wolf’s Jumps Guide: Ballarat

Race 1 – Marathon Hurdle: No.3 Gold Spur

Gold Spur showed he is back to something like his best form with a dominant last start win on the flat. He has always looked like a horse who can run 4000m, and the prospect of a very heavy track will suit him down to the ground. Murphy’s Delight is promising but given they meet each other on level weights, the edge has to be with the more experienced horse.

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Race 2 – Maiden Hurdle: No.3 Harvard

The Wolf has been waiting for Harvard to make his debut over obstacles for a long time now. His trials earlier this season were excellent, and his flat form has remained solid. It is telling that Ciaron Maher has saved him for this race, and he would have been delighted with the soft field he has come up against.

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Race 3 – Maiden Hurdle: No.3 Cougar Express

This ex-West Australian galloper made a magnificent debut over obstacles last start at Bendigo, being pestered all the way in front only to be run down late by the very talented Refectory in what looks a very deep maiden hurdle. The only slight reservation is that he has never been tested in this kind of ground, but The Wolf expects him to get the job done.

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Race 4 – JJ Houlahan Hurdle: No.9 Chequered Flag

An ex-Kiwi, Chequered Flag was in moderate flat form until he had his first ever jumps start in early July, which he won easily. Since then he has gone on to win at Sandown by almost five lengths, then get beaten a nose behind the ultra talented Yogi at Flemington. This is a very accomplished field but this horse has unlimited potential, and The Wolf is confident he can take the next step.

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Race 5 – Open Steeplechase: No.1 The Narcissist

Darren Weir can get another win here with The Narcissist. After a very good BM120 Hurdle win many would be encouraged to tackle the Grand National or the JJ Houlahan – the fact Weir has elected to send him steeplechasing already is telling. This is a moderate field and he should be able to handle them.

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Race 6 – Grand National Steeplechase: No.7 Over The Yardarm

Wells and Sea King are the headline acts, but The Wolf is going with Over The Yardarm. The lightly raced eight year old was formerly trained by Mark Brooks who has up and left to New Zealand mid campaign. No matter, the horse is now in the hands of Darren Weir where horses generally don’t go backwards. He was terrific in the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown where he made Wells fight all the way, and he should be even better suited under the weight conditions of this race.

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