Grand National Steeplechase at Warrnambool in Southeast Victoria
Despite what seem like strenuous attempts to banish the code of steeplechase racing, along with the obvious decline in the number of races and participants, there are still some notable on-hangers and the upcoming Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool is the primary example. The country track southwest of Melbourne would make an excellent coastal outing, by the way.
The race jumps Thursday coming and will have a field of 12, along with three emergencies, for the 5500 m, 33-jump race that is full of twists and turns.
To gain some perspective of the scope of the challenge, imagine your favourite stayer running the Melbourne Cup, and then immediately running the Cox Plate, and then taking to the ring for a couple minutes of show jumping.
The winner last year was No Song No Supper and the 9YO bay gelding or Irish and Kiwi descent will be back to defend his title. He ran third in the race in 2015.
No Song No Supper has had several attempts at flat track racing, but his most valid claims to fame in that regard is that he has carried Kerrin McEvoy on one occasion and Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne on several others.
Martin Kelly will be doing the steering aboard No Song No Supper this year.
As for the betting markets, Sportsbet and Ladbrokes both seemed devoid of quotes for the moment, what with the race just two days hence, but that is their business, we suppose.