is looking exciting! There are 17 jumps events scheduled - 5 in SA and 12 in Victoria.
Jim Houlahan's team is firing at the moment with Moon Chase & Planet Hollywood winning on the flat at lucrative odds. He also has top hurdler Angler Parade racing enthusiastically and the promising Melos preparing to win over the obstacles. I guess Jim wants to make a point that in 1999, the Year of the Aged Person, he can have the best strike rate of any trainer in the land.
For your reference, the planned March jumping dates are as
Coming Up in 1999
jumps racing promises to be bigger & better in 1999. Increased prizemoney for many of
the feature events, plenty of class animals heading over the brush including Australia's
best chaser, Palace Symphony, Hiskens Steeplechase winner, Maybe Rough, Flemington
specialist & Melbourne Cup Day Hurdle winner, Bright Spot, as well as veteran
frontrunner, Burrowye Lord.
My bouquets to the Australian Jumps Racing Assoc & particularly to the RSPCA for acting so proactively in implementing new yellow sighter lines on many hurdles. The new coloured lines are more apparent to horses jumping at speed and have assisted in making an inherently dangerous sport much safer for all concerned. Let's hope this season is as safe for horse & jumps jockey as was 1998.
Hot Cross Buns are already in some of the shops (a bit desperate really), signalling the return to the track of the aspirants for the Oakbank Easter Carnival in South Australia. Hurdle & steeplechase trials will be run on the 22 & 29 March. The 29/3/99 trials will be an excellent leadup to the carnival the following weekend, with leading stables always represented.
For your information, there are only a few jumping dates this early in the season. Planned dates for jumping events in February 1999 are as follows:
Tues 9/2, Wed 10/2, Wed 17/2, Sat 20/2, Wed 24/2, Sat 27/2 & Sun 28/2/99.
The small number of events in February will be just a taste of jumping action in comparison to March (17), April (22), May (24), June (29) & July (26).
Go here for a complete list of track records for all tracks that run hurdle races.
10 Horses to Follow for 1999
Silver Metal Trainer - Eric Musgrove
Won the 1998 MJ Bourke Hurdle at Pakenham on debut as a raging 4/7 favourite, beating his opposition easily. The most recent hurdler to make their debut over jumps at such prohibitive odds was The Shu. Silver Metal has all the right credentials to be a class hurdler, and his 1998 Warrnambool Galleywood Hurdle victory was extra impressive as he hadn't raced for a month due to a setback. It should be remembered that in the Galleywood, Silver Metal beat class jumpers, Maybe Rough & Jonesey's Flyer.
2. Noble Colony Trainer - Peter Hayes
3. Prince Keystone Trainer - Peter Hayes
4. Kingston Dream Trainer - RE Laing
5. Melos Trainer - JJ Houlahan
6. Marlborough Trainer - JJ Houlahan
7. Bright Spot Trainer - Terry Whitford
8. Ballyleon Trainer - BT Howe
9. Raise A Count Trainer - Tony Vasil
10. Title Roll Trainer - Graeme Rogerson
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