Trainer hoping proven duo can further their record Fri, 10 Aug 2012
Kelly Thompson is hoping Jo Rathbone’s lengthy association with Lautenschlager will give them a winning edge in tomorrow’s Grand National Steeplechase at Riccarton.
The Invercargill trainer will be chasing his second success in the feature after a previous triumph with Black Rhythm, who narrowly claimed the 1999 edition in the hands of Megan Prendergast.
“I thought we’d run second at best after we’d been beaten pretty easily in the Koral on the first day,” he said. “Megan rode both National winners that year after winning the hurdles on Gary Gibson’s horse Arch Rival.”
Rathbone has been aboard Lautenschlager in all three of his hurdle victories before he successfully switched to the bigger fences and is in prime order for tomorrow’s Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Grand National Steeples
“Jo knows him so well and she doesn’t panic,” Thompson said. “I know Kevin (Myers) has first call on her, but she’s wanted to stick with my one all the way through.”
Rathbone has ridden the 10-year-old in five of his last six starts over the big fences for wins at Timaru and Riverton, a placing at Wingatui and a solid last-start fourth in the Koral Steeples last Saturday.
“He deserved a better fate really after he lost quite a bit of ground at the 1000 metres, otherwise he would have been closer still,” Thompson said. “Everything has gone really well and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
He is also confident Lautenschlager will have no trouble handling the testing 5600 metre National distance. “You never know until you have a go, but he’s run on in every steeplechase he’s been in so far and hasn’t been stopping.”