Zealand jumper Chibuli has added another dimension to this Saturday's Grand National
Steeplechase at Flemington with a dashing win the Crisp Steeple at the same track last
A last start winner in New Zealand of the
Great Northern Hurdle over 4190 metres at Ellerslie, the nine-year-old led from start to
finish in Flemington's National lead up on the weekend.
With Jonathan Riddell in the saddle the son of Royal
Pinnacle held out all of the challenges to score a comprehensive and record breaking win.
Trained at Hastings by Paul Nelson, Chibuli has having only
his tenth start over jumps and his fourth from as many outings this preparation.
Chibuli, who was nominated for a Melbourne Cup as a
five-year-old, was an accomplished flat performer before switching to the obstacles.
"He won five races straight back home when he was
younger," Paul Nelson said. "At that stage we even nominated him for the
During the earlier part of his career Chibuli excelled on
the flat across the Tasman. He was a listed winner at Auckland's Ellerslie track and was
also a stakes placed performer as well. But it's now his abilities as a jumper that once
again has his name in lights.
Following his three quarter length win there were some
anxious moments for connections when the connections of the runner-up Sir Ritchie fired in
After a relatively short hearing the objection by Willy
Harnett, the rider of Sir Ritchie, stewards dismissed the protest and the placings stood.
Nelson is hoping Chibuli continues to settle into Melbourne
and he races even more attractively on Saturday in the National.
"He doesn't normally race as fierce as he did
today," Nelson said. "In New Zealand he normally races up there handy but not
necessarily in front."
"I'm pretty confident he will be able to settle in a
bit more and race not so keen on Saturday which would be great," he added.
Chibuli is one of twelve entries for Saturday's Cleanevent
Grand National Steeplechase (4700m). He has 65 kilograms, four and a half kilos less than
the top weight Leading Bounty, who's attempting a third win in the race.
The other entries are Hibernian Prince and Sir
Ritchie (63.5), Crafty Dancer (63), Corker's Boy (62.5), Ballata (62) and Built Him,
Queenlike, Bone Jolter, Sampan Man and Kevie's Luck (61).