Talented gelding Wells denied champion jumper Bashboy an historic third victory in the Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) at Sandown yesterday.
Bashboy won the past two editions of the Grand National Steeplechase in impressive fashion and started the race as a clear favourite, despite being allocated 74.5 kilograms by Racing Victoria handicappers, but there was also some betting support for Wells in the lead-up to the race.
Tough stayer Maythehorsebemagic took up the running in the early stages of the race, while jockey Steven Pateman settled Bashboy in third position, just in front of Wells.
Jockey John Allen made his move on Wells coming up the hill for the second time, but Bashboy responded at the 1000 metre mark and he took up the running from Sea King.
However, the heavy weight took its toll on Bashboy in the final stages of the race and he was under pressure a long way from home; with Wells outstaying a brave Bashboy in the final stages of the race to score an impressive win in his steeplechase debut.
Trainer Kathryn Durden said that she was always confident that Wells could have success as a steeplechaser and she was clearly delighted that her decision to give the Galileo gelding a chance in the Grand National Steeplechase had paid off.
We’re absolutely wrapt,” Durden told the media after the race.
“We always thought he’d jump a fence better and that was the plan with him the whole time.
“He’s always had the ability so we just thought it was a natural way to go.
“We were hoping and praying that we got a bit better track today and we did so we knew that he really would come into his own with just a little bit better track.”
The win was Allen’s first in the Grand National Steeplechase, after he took out both The Australian Hurdle and The Galleywood Hurdle with Gotta Take Care earlier in the year and the Irish hoop said that Wells could not have given him a better run into the race.
“I got the perfect run in behind them,” Allen said.
“I felt I was travelling so good I had to win if he let down and he did.
“He met the last with a perfect stride and the rest is history.
“He rode like the winner over every jump.”
Wells and Bashboy are both set to head for a stint in the spelling paddock following their tough Grand National Steeplechase performances.