HOMETOWN trainers Darren Weir and Dan O’Sullivan were smiling brightest as jumps racing made a triumphant return to Ballarat yesterday.
Weir celebrated as Gotta Take Care warmed up for his shot at Warrnambool’s famous Galleywood Hurdle with a four-length victory in the QLS Logistics 0-120 Hurdle, 3200m, before O’Sullivan’s talented jumper Tuscan Fire streeted his rivals by nine lengths to win the QLS Logistics Maiden Hurdle, 3200m.
Yesterday’s meeting was the first time jumps racing had been held at Dowling Forest racecourse since 2009, and it was a concept Weir was happy to see return.
“It’s terrific. I love it. It’s a great spectacle,” Weir said.
“We love the jumpers. We started with 10 or a dozen, but we’ve probably got six left.”
The Ballarat trainer was wary about what lay ahead for Gotta Take Care, which will meet a Robert Smerdon-trained star at next week’s Warrnambool carnival.
“We’re heading that way (Galleywood), but we’ve got to take on Black and Bent, which is not ideal.
“You take them on, and as you can see, horses make mistakes,” Weir said.
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan was weighing up his options with Tuscan Fire, which showed plenty of improvement from his debut third over the fences at Oakbank during Easter.
He said the five-year-old son of Tuscanos would be nominated for the Galleywood and a restricted hurdle over the three-day Warrnambool carnival.
“The worry with Oakbank was: was it going to flatten him or bring him on?
“I think it really brought him on. When he came home he did so well in the box and all the lead-ups were really good,” he said.
Yesterday’s hurdle events went off without a hitch, despite jockey Gerrad Gilmour’s harmless fall from Logical Lad in race two.
Gilmour slipped from his mount after the final jump, but was quickly on his feet and walked back to scale.