Valediction and Steve Pateman combo to beat as jumps get underway

The Gai Waterhouse-trained Valediction will be the headline act when the jumps season gets underway at Warrnambool.

There will be two hurdle races on Tuesday’s program with Valediction to carry top weight of 71.5kg in his 3200m-race with champion rider Steve Pateman aboard.

Racing Victoria has boosted prize money for the jumps season by $510,000 in an attempt to increase field sizes.

Forty-two hurdle races and 21 steeplechases have been programmed for the season for a total of $3.51 million prize money.

Besides the three-day Warrnambool carnival in the first week in May, a new two-day carnival at Ballarat in August has been added featuring the $350,000 Grand National Steeplechase.

Maiden hurdles will be worth a minimum $25,000 while ratings hurdles and steeplechases will offer a minimum of $30,000.

Tuesday’s fields at Warrnambool have attracted 10 acceptances in the maiden hurdle and seven in the ratings race, headlined by Valediction who has won two jumps races and four on the flat.

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