Top jumper Sea King can be forgiven his last-start performance, according to rider Shaun Fannin.
They finished fifth in the Waikato Hurdles (3200m) and the top jumps jockey believes the Kevin Myers-trained 11-year-old is more than capable of bouncing back in Sunday’s Irvines McGregor Grant Steeplechase (3900m) at Te Rapa.
“The ground was quite shifty and he came off the bridle down the back straight,” Fannin said
“He got going again and when he came back he had sand in his eyes and nostrils, he just didn’t like the conditions on the day.
“The same thing happened in the Waikato Hurdles last season when I pulled him up and he won the Awapuni Hurdles after that.”
Fannin has no doubt the rising 12-year-old Sea King can give a stirring account of himself on Sunday.
“He’s as well as he’s ever been,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s a better track and he’s a year older and the speed of the hurdle races is a little bit fast for him – he’ll be better-suited to the steeplechase speed.”
Fannin will also be aboard the stablemates Game Percy in the K. S. Browne Hurdle (3200m), Windermere Lad in the Celebrating Authentic Paddy Hurdle (2800m) and Gagarin in the Celebrating Ladies First Steeplechase (3900m).
A last-start fifth on the flat, Game Percy finished runner-up over fences at Wanganui two runs back.
“He was beaten by Tallyho Twinkletoe, who’s a good horse, and while this is a step up it’s a pretty good form line,” Fannin said.
Windermere Lad is a relative newcomer to jumping, but Gagarin is at the other end of the scale over the smaller fences.
A former Great Northern Hurdles (4190m) and Hawke’s Bay Hurdle (3190m) winner, he has had a run on the flat to ready him for his steeplechase debut. – NZ Racing Desk.