Emotions flowed for trainer, jockey and many supporters when the South Australian-trained Spying On You won his second Great Eastern Steeplechase, accounting for top-weight and favourite Zed Em in an absorbing race at Oakbank on Saturday.
Sitting off the pace when stablemate Pentelligentsia and Zed Em engaged in an early battle with both swapping the lead, the Grant Young-trained jumper came with a well-timed run with Tommy Ryan on board to beat Zed Em by 3.5 lengths with Pentelligentsia just over eight lengths away in third.
Spying On You ($5) won the big race in 2017 and was having his fifth start in the Great Eastern.
The 11-year-old gelding was the oldest horse in the race, while runner up Zed Em is a 10-year-old.
Young said the horse was fantastic to train.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the animal,’’ Young said.
“He’s taught me so much as far as training goes. Any young trainer coming along should take on a jumper.
“They just teach you so much. What a fantastic effort. And a top ride from Tommy (Ryan). But this is Spying’s final season. He will go to the Grand National (steeple) later in the year and then that will be it.’’
Spying On You has won the 2021 Great Eastern Steeplechase! pic.twitter.com/dZiu4zz7kI
For winning jockey Ryan, the win capped a fantastic carnival where he won three races on the opening day, never losing his cool when Spying looked to be losing touch with the leaders in their final lap.
“We always knew he would come (Spying On You) but when je jumped the last you just knew he was going home,’’ Ryan said.
“He jumped the last like a terrier.
“He always has a flat spot but you just have to have him close enough. This win just tops it off. For Grant, me, staff and for South Australia.
“To have Oakbank back was just brilliant after missing last year.
“We have just won the biggest jumps race in South Australia and Australia. It is just brilliant.’’
Despite the race falling away to just five runners lining up, the race proved another absorbing contest with all runners in the mix for two laps.
Zed Em, going for three consecutive Great Eastern victories, was gallant in second place, while Young’s other runner Pentelligentsia provided plenty of competition.
Meanwhile, The smart money was on the mark when Reynolds ($2.70fav), having its first run in Australia, took out the inaugural $37,000 Battler’s Bolt – a maiden over 1400m. Reynolds, trained by Michael Hickmott and ridden by leading rider Jess Eaton, won by 3.7 lengths after racing in England and Hong Kong.
Eaton brought up a double with Going Gaga ($23) in the final event.
Britannicus (left) jumps over the final hurdle in the Harry D Young Hurdle. Picture: Brenton EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia
Britanicus made the trip to Oakbank worthwhile for connections when it sat off the pace but finished over the top of the favoured runners to win the 3600m Harry D Young Hurdle. Trained by Symon Wilde at Warrnambool, ridden by Ronan Short and owned by a large syndicate led by rep Nick Heathcote on his first trip to Oakbank, the six-year-old brought up his eighth win from 44 starts.
Analytica took out the Onkaparinga Cup in one of the most convincing wins on the day. Sitting three wide at times without much luck the $2.70 fancy powered home to win well, giving trainer Travis Doudle a double and jockey Barend Vorster the first of a double, following with roughie Charlton ($26) in the 1900m Provincial Series.
There were celebrations and emotions for Emily Finnegan who brought Street Life ($8.50) with a well-timed run on the outside rail to win the Listed $102,250 Hills Railway Stakes. Finnegan has returned to race riding recently after long-term injuries.
Originally published asSpying winds back clock for Great upset
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