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13/07/02 St. Steven Still Not At His Best
Leading jumps jockey Brett Scott has sounded a warning to the potential rivals to St. Steven in the Hiskens Steeplechase in a fortnight after he bounded away to win the race named in his honour at Moonee Valley today.

The large Moonee Valley crowd cheered its approval as the seven-year-old gelding cleared the last well clear of his rivals before cruising home for an eight length win.

While the majority of the crowd enjoyed the race and were delighted with the final result, the trainers of his rivals today, who are again set to oppose St. Steven in the Hiskens must have been worried.

Adding further worries to the connections of his possible Hiskens oppositions were the views of winning jockey and stable foreman Brett Scott who said the gelding had yet to peak this preparation.

"I still don’t think he’s peaked yet," Scott said moments after the popular win. "He’s had a good blow and he should be better in a couple of weeks (for the Hiskens)."

There was really only one point of worry for Scott during the race when St. Steven jumped one of the jumps in the treble on the second lap awkwardly.

"Yeah he put in a bad one at the second of the treble," Scott confirmed. "But after that hepicked himself up well and jumped cleanly afterwards."

Winning trainer John Wheeler was not at Moonee Valley today, but he must have been thrilled with the performance of his gelding who’s aiming at back to back wins in the Hiskens.

Last year the gelding wrapped up the Jumper of the Year award when he won the Moonee Valley fencing feature and he could do likewise in 14 days time.

"With some good pace in the Hiskens he should be able to get a nice run back in the field and with a kilo less there it’s all looking well," Scott added.

A pony sized galloper, St. Steven is one of the modern day champions over the steeples. His feature wins include the 2001 Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank, last year’s Hiskens Steeplechase at Moonee Valley and the world’s richest jumps race – the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan in April.

Today’s win in the St. Steven Steeplechase (formerly known as the Noel Mason Steeple), gave the dashing jumper his second consecutive win. Ten days ago the gelding scored a length win over 3000 metres on the flat at this track in great style.

The flat win followed his five and three quarter length third to River Boy in a 3200 metre Steeple also here on June 22.

At the post St. Steven had an eight length break over the dashing grey Kickit, a last start winner of the Great Southern Steeple at Mornington.

Kickit ($4-$4.20) looked like the making the race interesting until he bungled the third and then second last fences to enable St. Steven to cruise past and set up a handy break.

River Boy ($4-$4.60), a last start conqueror of St. Steven held on for third just ahead of the fast finishing Regal Royal ($4.80-$5). The third placegetter was a further two and a half lengths behind the runner-up.

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