Black And Bent continued his stellar jumping career by winning his second $200,000 Grand National Hurdle (3900m) at Sportingbet Park Sandown on Sunday.
The Robert Smerdon trained seven year old was a runaway winner two years ago and is regarded as Australia’s premier hurdler, making light work of the 72 kgs he had to carry to victory in scoring his fourteenth win over the fences.
That weight was the most carried to victory in the Grand National Hurdle since Cherry Jack took out the event with 73 kgs in 1940 plus Black And Bent had to overcome two tendon injuries to achieve the outstanding result.
“I thought his last tendon would have been the end of his racing career but he’s come back and proved us all wrong and you’ve just got to take your hat off to the horse,” Smerdon said.
“Gee it was a tough effort, the race really changed complexion so much in that last part but it was a great effort on the horse’s part.
“He’s had a lot of miles and a lot of issues and he’s dealt with them all which is probably a testament to his determination.”
Another superb ride by premier jumps jockey Steven Pateman saw the crowd favourite surge to the front over the final hurdle to record a memorable one and three quarter lengths win over Stand To Gain with race favourite Wells falling at the second last jump.
“He was always off the bit and I was struggling to keep him in contact but these days he just wants to stay,” Pateman said.
“I just loved it how going into the race he was the underdog and champions are always champions.
“Robert Smerdon is an absolute master, it’s been an enormous training effort with all of his injuries and the horse has to do it tough these days with the weight.”
Black And Bent’s win wrapped up another successful day for Pateman who earlier took out the $100,000 Crisp Steeple (3900m) on the Ciaron Maher trained Bashboy.
Pateman also rode a patient race on Bashboy and held the nine year old together before letting him claim the lead at the final jump before running away for a three and a quarter lengths win over Cat’s Fun and Kirribilli Gold.