Trainer Aaron Purcell has revealed both the Grand National Steeplechase and the JJ Houlahan Hurdle are both on the agenda for King Of Dudes following his victory in the 2015 Grand National Hurdle at Warrnambool yesterday afternoon.
King Of Dudes started the Grand National Hurdle at a lengthy quote after he finished seventh in the Kevin Lafferty Hurdle (3200m) at Warrnambool and failed to finish in the Listed Brendan Drechsler Hurdle (3600m) at Bendigo on June 28, but he produced a strong staying effort to score a narrow victory over Fieldmaster and Stand To Gain.
Purcell told Racing Ahead this morning that the Grand National Hurdle had always been the winter goal for King Of Dudes and he was thrilled that the Dansili gelding had been able to record his biggest race win since he arrived in Australia in 2013.
“The National has been the race that we have focused on all season,” Purcell said.
“Some of the other horses have been racing over the jumps for a while and he was on the fresh horse on the scene and with the light weight and the track to suit it all worked out well.
“He hasn’t won a heap of races, but he has been racing in pretty good company the whole time and he is always competitive when he is right.”
King Of Dudes has gone all his jumps racing over hurdles, but Purcell confirmed this morning that he is considering attempting to get a steeplechase license with the six-year-old so that he can compete in the 2015 Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat on July 26.
Purcell said that he does not believe that King Of Dudes will have any problems handling the bigger jumps, but he added that the 2015 JJ Houlahan Hurdle at the same venue.
“He seems fine,” Purcell said.
“We haven’t done a lot with him today and we will be quite with up for a couple of days.
“If he picks up well we might run him at Ballarat on Sunday week and I’m not sure if we try and get his Steeple ticket and run him in the National Chase or run him in the JJ Houlahan.
“We will work that out as we go along.
“He is a professional sort of jumper and the jockeys that have ridden have all said that the fences shouldn’t be a problem. “
King Of Dudes has now recorded three wins from his 11 race starts over the jumps and has accumulated over $200,000 in prizemoney for connections.