New Zealand-bred jumper Social Element is flying heading into the Australian Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) at Ballarat on Sunday.
The eight-year-old son of Savabeel has won his last four races, including the Crisp Steeplechase (4200m) at Sandown earlier this month, and trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott couldn’t be happier with the gelding heading into his weekend assignment.
“The horse is in great order. He has continued to thrive this preparation and has gone from strength-to-strength with each run,” Bott told SENTrack.
“He has more than held his form going into this race. His condition looks excellent and I have been happy with him with everything he has done this week.
“It will be his toughest test yet, but he seems to be showing that level of improvement and confidence every time he steps out.
“I am really looking forward to him stepping out.”
While showing plenty of promise as a jumper, Social Element was also handy on the flat, placing in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m), Listed Queensland Cup (3200m), and back-to-back Port Macquarie Cups (2000m).
“He showed plenty of class on the flat. To have a horse with that turn of speed is certainly a good asset for him going forward,” Bott said.
“He is still relatively lightly raced. It still felt like there was improvement coming out of that last run and he has been pretty raw, particularly when you look back towards the start of his campaign.
“He has certainly come a long way but I still feel there is a bit more to offer which is the exciting part with him.”
Racing out of the Sydney-based trainers Flemington barn, Social Element utilises Melbourne’s other metropolitan tracks to fit in his jumps training.
“He does a few trips over to Caulfield where he does a bit of schooling over there,” Bott said.
“Last week he was able to get out to Moonee Valley and have a nice hit-out around the track there. He has done plenty there to keep him up to the mark.”
Social Element was initially purchased out of Lime Country Thoroughbreds 2015 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft for NZD$55,000 before he returned through the Karaka sales ring later that year through Mana Park’s Ready To Run Sale draft where he was purchased by Gai Waterhouse, Cambridge-based bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo, and Blue Sky Bloodstock for NZD$200,000.
He has gone on to win seven of his 28 starts in Australia and earnt more than AUD$400,000 in prizemoney.