There was plenty to like about the master plan of sending Black And Bent overseas to compete in the world’s biggest jumps races.
It would mark the complete turnaround of the Australian jumps industry with a genuine home grown talent rising through the grades to mix it with the biggest names on the planet.
There’s no doubting the industry has had a tough time of it over the last few years, in fact at one stage it seemed doomed altogether.
In the end though it seems almost certain Black And Bent won’t be making that grand trip with Japan ruled out and England fading away.
Already one of the two planned missions during the Cheltenham festival are out of consideration as a result of Big Bucks, a horse that’s won his last 14 straight.
“We wouldn’t take him on because we wouldn’t be able to beat him,” part owner Mike Symons said.
That leaves only the Champion Hurdle over 3200m but given it’s run in the second week of March time is slowly running out.
The horse is still three weeks away from returning to work and Symons says it’d be hard to leave when there’s so much on offer right here.
“There’s the challenge of competing on the world stage, but the flip side is that you have the best horse domestically and you have an enhanced jumps program with more prizemoney,” Symons said.
While having Black And Bent succeed on the world stage would show the local industry in a positive light there’s no reason it’ll be any less positive with him at home either.
“You are trying to draw more people into the sport and for them to become interested in it. If you take the headline horse out of Australia and you send him to England, they pretty quickly fall off the radar,” he said.