Aaron Purcell will run his rising jumps star Double Bluff in the $100,000 Drechsler Hurdle at Pakenham on July 21 before targeting the $250,000 Grand National Hurdle at Sandown on August 4.
Purcell is sure he pulled the right rein by not running Double Bluff on the very heavy Warrnambool track last Sunday.
Double Bluff has won his past two hurdle races, including the South Australian Grand National.
“Even though it was a $100,000 race at Warrnambool I was worried it would be too wet for Double Bluff. He can handle soft ground but not the really heavy tracks that Warrnambool can have in July,” Purcell said.
Nest earns his rest
Koroit jumper Hornets’ Nest was retired after finishing fourth in the $100,000 Lafferty Hurdle at Warrnambool last Sunday.
Hornets’ Nest won three of his 12 jumps starts for trainer James McNamara, including the 2017 Lafferty.
“He’s been a great horse for us and his connections,” McNamara said. “He’s got nothing left to prove to us. He was brave again on Sunday but he’s not up to that class anymore. I only got him late in his career and we had a lot of fun with him. He was a quirky sort of horse but on his day he had lots of ability.”
Hornets’ Nest won more than $280,000 in prizemoney.
Jumping tests the nerves
Warrnambool trainer Peter Chow is normally as cool as a cucumber but he admitted after the maiden hurdle win of Robbie’s Star he was a nervous wreck before the race.
Robbie’s Star beat the Patrick Payne-trained Michelin by four lengths.
“I’ve never been as toey going into a race,” Chow explained. “We had done a lot of schooling with Robbie’s Star so we knew he went well at the jumping and he won well. I’m not sure where we’ll go with him for his next start but it will be in a jumps race. I’m hoping my nerves will be a bit better,” he chuckled.
Robbie’s Star took his stake earnings to more than $190,000 with his maiden hurdle victory.
Interest in Victoria’s premier juvenile race is at an all-time high, with a record 1767 yearlings nominated for the 2020 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m in February).
That figure shatters last year’s record total of 1688 nominations.
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace top the list of nominators, with 132 entries. They edge out the Lindsay Park team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, with 126, followed by Peter and Paul Snowden (101).
Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde has nominated seven horses while former Crossley trainer Mitch Freedman (who now trains at Ballarat) has one horse nominated.
Godolphin nominated 85 yearlings, including blueblood colt Namazu and filly Jadida, each of whom will look to emulate the deeds of their Blue Diamond-winning mothers, Earthquake and Miracles Of Life.
Chris Waller has 84 nominations including a half-sister to his champion mare Winx, named Covent Garden.