Big day of jumps racing in Ballarat on Thursday

Steeplechaser Western Kingdon (red and white) charges home for a last-start second on the flat in Ballarat. Picture: Getty Images
Steeplechaser Western Kingdon (red and white) charges home for a last-start second on the flat in Ballarat. Picture: Getty Images

Two steeplechasers with their hooves on the till get their chance to salute in Ballarat on Thursday.

King Of The Forest and Western Kingdom are at the top of the weights in the E-Cycle Solutions Steeplechase, 3200m - one three jumps events on an eight-event card.

Each will get weight relief, with King  Of The Forest carrying 67kg after a 3kg claim by Jarrod Lynch and Western Kingdom getting down to 68kg with Jamie Mott's 1.5kg claim.

King Of The Forest has been knocking on the door for trainer and former leading jumps jockey David Londregan.

A former Queensland galloper, the eight-year-old arrived at Londregan's Colac stable in late 2014 with four wins on the flat to embark on a jumping career.

He had two wins over the fences at Hamilton and Casterton last year and although racing as well as ever has been unable to add to his tally.

This is another big opportunity for King Of The Forest with a third in the Brierly Steeplechase in the Warrnambool May Carnival and a last-start third to Mannertone over the fences at Sportsbet Ballarat confirming he is ready to win.

Caulfield/Ballarat trainer Robert Smerdon also has Western Kingdom jumping out of his skin.

The 5yo, which was destined for jumping from the time he stepped onto a racetrack, is a two-time hurdle winner, but yet to break through over the steeples.

He has had no shortage of steeple trials and a fifth in the Brierly and then third in Ballarat show it is only a matter time for Western Kingdom. 

His latest effort, a second on the flat behind group 1-placed Rockstar Rebel in Ballarat, also acts a major pointer.

Darren Weir has a strong hand in two hurdles.

Ancient King is looking to stay unbeaten over the jumps in the E-Cycle Solutions Benchmark120 Hurdle, 3200m, and an improving Hale Soriano is engaged in the  E-Cycle Solutions Maiden Hurdle, 3200m.

Weir is a big chance to bring up his 400th win of the season on his home track after moving to 399 at Sandown on Wednesday.

SIMON Morrish is enjoying a healthy strike rate in his caretaker role for the Ballarat stable of suspended Matt Cumani.

Imports Shakopee ($10) and  Sir Van Dyke ($5.50) gave Morrish a third and fourth win from his latest seven starters from the operation at Mornington on Monday and Sandown on Wednesday. 

This followed another Great Britain-bred stayer Archery Peak, which won at Pakenham.

LIKE Burrumbeet racecourse, Avoca is not only making an impact on race days. Avoca Shire Turf Club had 17 trials on Tuesday.