Robert Smerdon’s Black And Bent is on his way to a Melbourne Cup run after he won the Grand National Hurdle on Sunday.
The talented six-year-old gelding won the $200,000 Grand National by an unbelievable 12 lengths at Sandown Racecourse.
It was Smerdon’s third victory in the race, with the trainer previously winning with Zabenz in 2002 and Some Are Bent in 2007.
Jockey Steven Pateman was overcome with relief after the victory.
“I’m glad it’s all over,” Pateman said.
“He’s an amazing horse, he was in the zone today.
“He went forward and the tempo just allowed him to relax and I just had to keep him out of trouble which he got in to when turning out of the straight.
“That’s competitive racing but his turn of foot just puts them away.
“He has the staying ability and the jumping ability. He’s just a freak, he’s unbelievable.
“You get a certain confidence when you are on him behind the gates, he marches around like Muhammed Ali.”
Black And Bent’s managing owner, Mike Symons, said the horse would try to pass the initial qualifying stage for the Melbourne Cup by winning either the R M Ansett Classic at Mornington on October 1 or the Bart Cummings at Flemington on October 2.
“If he could win a race like that he could get a penalty and get into the Cup but that’s still six weeks away,” Symons said.
“This horse is still on the up, that’s the scary thing. That will top him off for next time.
“He’s just a superstar.”
Pateman believes that Black And Bent’s career could take him to England after his Melbourne Cup charge.
“I’d be keen to take him to England,” Pateman said.
“To go to Cheltenham would be a dream … and I don’t care what the Pommy blokes say, he’s good enough.”
Connections are also looking towards the $1.7 million Nakayama Daishogai, which is a Group 1 jumps race in Japan that takes place on Christmas Eve.