Wells Wins 2016 Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat
Jumps racing has been under attack by animal rights activists for years, yet it was still encouraging to see that Wells won his second Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat on Sunday.
The 2016 edition of the 4500 m race was held at Ballarat, so Wells had to ride a bit further for the win this year, as when he last won the race in 2014, it was at Sandown, just outside the capital.
Ballarat featured heavy conditions this year and the simple fact that Wells was able to run at all, let alone in such challenging conditions, is a tribute to the superb veterinary care he received for the fetlock infection that necessitated surgery to correct. He has been off the track for a year and a half.
Wells jumped cleanly most of the way and it is obvious that his trainer, Kathryn Durden, cared more about the horse’s wellbeing than anything else. She felt that Wells gained more maturity and the ability to cope with the racing environment better and that the time away might have been responsible for helping the horse.
Wells defeated pre-race favourite Zed Em by 25 ½ lengths and could finish no better than fourth.