|Brilliant cross country jockey Brett Scott received plenty of
satisfaction when Crafty Dancer held out Ballata in a thrilling Carlton Draught Australian
Steeplechase (3800m) at Sandown yesterday.
rode the gelding to victory by a half head, has been the caretaker trainer of the
five-year-old since trainer John Wheeler sent the gelding to Australia before the Oakbank
jumping carnival at Easter.
Yesterday the gelding broke through for a well deserved
win, but had he not been inconvenienced prior to the home turn the eventual runner-up
Ballata would surely have won.
"Oh well you cant do much about it, but he
probably should have won," Ballatas dejected Adelaide based trainer Gordon
Richards said moments after the race.
"We just have to look forward to the National I
guess," he added.
There were some anxious moments for the Crafty Dancer camp
when Willy Harnett, the rider of Ballata, used the option of viewing the film with the
view of lodging an objection.
"In the home straight
the winner did shift out towards us, but he never actually bumped us," Harnett said
after telling stewards he would not lodge a protest. "My horses still had every
chance at the finish to win, but he just couldnt quite get there."
"Im certainly looking forward to the
National," Harnett said referring to the Grand National Steeple at Flemington.
Crafty Dancer, a five-year-old by Just a Dancer, was beaten
nearly 30 lengths by Ballata in the 4950 metre Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank on
Easter Monday, signifying the placings could well be reversed in the longer Grand
For Scott the win was his third consecutive victory in the
race. He won the race last year aboard Worthy Knight, and a year earlier he booted home
Kosrose in the Australian Steeple.
"Its certainly been a very good race for
me," Scott said.
Scott, who also
represented winning trainer John Wheeler yesterday, said he felt the gelding could be
better in the National.
"Im sure he is going to improve on todays
win," Scott said. "We maybe got to the front a little early today, so to hold
out the grey was a pretty good performance."
"Youd have to think the National is going to be
a race in two between this bloke (Crafty Dancer) and the grey (Ballata)," Scott
predicted. "And I guess you may have to also throw Leading Bounty in there as
well," he quickly added.
Scott said Crafty Dancer is likely to have a start at
Flemington in the National lead-up to "have a look around."
Meanwhile, the stable will start the Nakayama Grand Jump
winner St Steven this Saturday as he heads to his ultimate aim of the Hiskens
PICS - Quentin