The emotion showed on the faces of trainers Brian and Shane Anderton after Jackfrost fulfilled a 12-month plan when winning the Grand National Hurdles (4200m) at Riccarton on Wednesday.
“It’s not often you set them for a race like this and it comes off, but it did today,” said Brian Anderton, who along with his wife, Lorraine, bred the eight-year-old.
Making the occasion even more memorable for the Andertons is the fact Jackfrost is a product of their White Robe Lodge stud operation, being by resident sire Gallant Guru from Vital Note, a daughter of their former successful sire Yamanin Vital.
It was Brian Anderton’s fourth win in the feature, the first two being with Bymai in 1980 and Lord Venture six years later, and the second Grand National Hurdles win with son Shane as a training partner.
The partners won the event 17 years ago with Narousa when ridden by Shane, who was given all the credit for Jackfrost’s major win.
“Shane has done all the work – I’ve been away on holiday,” Brian Anderton said.
It was yet another example of how the successful Anderton stable ticks, with a steady supply of winners both on the flat and over fences.
Though the stable doesn’t have as many jumpers as in past years, Jackfrost has stood out as a horse with an exciting jumps future.
He was forwarded on to the Anderton stable by Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston with the belief he could make his mark as a jumper and the Andertons have taken him to the next level.
He emerged as a serious Grand National Hurdles hope when winning on the first two days of last year’s Grand National meeting and it was then the decision was made to put him aside and set him for the Hospitality New Zealand-sponsored race.
Two seconds and a win at Timaru put him on target and his first day run at Riccarton, when second to favourite Laekeeper, showed he was ready for the big challenge. He was beaten three-quarters of a length by the Waikato visitor in the Sydenham Hurdles (3100m) after losing ground near the 700m when awkwardly placed.
But rider Stuart Higgins wasn’t about to get into the same trouble this time. He had him travelling nicely in fourth position most of the way and looked the winner a long way from home.
Higgins, having his second ride in the race, had him clear halfway down the home straight and Jackfrost skipped the last fence and went on to win by eight and a half length from Laekeeper.
“I wouldn’t admit it before, but I cost him a couple of placings with my rides earlier in the year, but they (the Andertons) stuck with me,” Higgins said.
“From the first time I rode him everyone was excited and he’s lived up to expectations.”
The joy of the win was multiplied by the huge number of owners which make up the Frosty’s Shoutin The Beers Syndicate, all echoing the praise for trainers, jockey and horse. – NZ Racing Desk