Veterans score over the jumps at Bendigo

Wells ridden by Richard Cully wins the ecycle Solutions Mosstrooper Steeplechase at Bendigo Racecourse on July 23, 2017 in Bendigo, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Two feature jumps winners from Bendigo will meet in a Grand National Steeplechase lead-up at Sandown.

New Zealander Sea King and Australian jumper Wells will renew acquaintances in the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown on August 6, two weeks before the Grand National at Ballarat two weeks later.

The two were successful at Bendigo on Sunday with Sea King winning the Brendan Drechsler Hurdle and Wells taking out the Mosstrooper Steeplechase.

Sea King had won the two previous runnings of the Mosstrooper but was denied a start this year because he had not raced, or trialled, over the bigger obstacles since his last trip to Australia.

Before coming to Australia this campaign, Sea King’s form had been over hurdles in New Zealand.

Now Patrick Payne, who has taken over the training of the gelding from Kevin Myers, will school the gelding over the bigger jumps to get his ticket for the Crisp Steeplechase.

Sea King ran second in the Crisp at Warrnambool in 2015 before losing rider Steven Pateman at Sandown last year after striking the running rail.

The gelding suffered a gash to his chest in the incident which ruled him out of the Grand National Steeplechase won by Wells.

Sea King had the wood on Wells over the smaller jumps, but Wells has turned the tables since switching to steeplechasing and will be aiming for a third Grand National in four years.

Trainer Kathryn Durden said she was worried Sunday’s Mosstrooper may have been too short and is looking forward to the Crisp and Grand National with Wells.

“He’s a supreme stayer and I thought some of those horses might have been a bit sharp for him,” Durden told RSN927.

“Sea King has beaten Wells before and he went super so the Grand National is going to be a really good race.”

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