Australia’s champion jumper Black and Bent continued his outstanding streak of feature wins over jumps when he cruised to victory in today’s $100,000 JJ Houlahan Hurdle (2400m) at Sandown.
And connections will aim their star galloper at Australia’s most famous race and the world’s richest handicap, November’s Melbourne Cup.
Trainer Robert Smerdon said the six-year-old son of Black Hawk would now have his jumps racing career put on hold as connections dream of spring carnival glory.
The next job for connections is to quality their star for the big two miler and then climb up the order of entry to get into the final field of 24.
“It’s a big ask but we will have a bit of fun trying to get there,” Smerdon told AAP after the race.
Smerdon went into today’s race with a good deal of confidence following Black and Bent’s breathtaking win in the Grand National Hurdle a fortnight ago.
“All the outward signs were fine but they are only animals and the expectations are that it will just keep happening,” Smerdon noted.
“But when you are the engineer of it or the achitect of it you are supposed to make it happen.”
“We will back off him and get a bit of freshness back in his legs going back for the shorter trips on the flat.”
Smerdon said Black and Bent would most likely have his next start in the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield on September 17.
He would then most likely run in either the Ansett Stakes at Mornington, the Metropolitan in Sydney or the Bart Cummings at Flemington.
Part owner Mike Symons, who donated $5,000 of today’s winnings to injured cross country jockey Brett Scott, said connections were also eyeing off feature international jumps events – including England’s Champion Hurdle and Japan’s Nakayama Grand Jump.
Black and Bent was purchased on behalf of connections by Victorian based Rick McIntosh for $25,000 from the Summerset Park draft at the 2007 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale.
He was bred by Rob and Maureen McBryde at their Summerset property at Gumeracha in South Australia’s Torrens Valley.
He is a half brother to former Champion Australian Jumper Some Are Bent – raced in similar connections and an earner of over $1 million.
They were both produced by the city winning Bestebreuje mare Summer Gambit – sadly she died in June when in foal to Von Costa de Hero.
Winner: Black and Bent
Breeding: Black Hawk-Summer Gambit (Bestebreuje)
Race: MRC JJ Houlahan Hurdle (3400m)
Sold for: $25,000
Sale: 2007 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale
Vendor: Summerset Park Stud
Buyer: Rick McIntosh
Owner(s): A McGregor, AJ Warren, AJ Webber, PA Seccull, CA Opie & MT Racing Pty Ltd Syndicate (Mgr: M Symons)
Trainer: Robert Smerdon (Caulfield)
Pics courtesy Colin Bull.