Valediction has been narrowly denied in his past three race starts over the jumps, but jockey Paddy Flood is confident that the Gai Waterhouse-trained galloper is ready to fire in the 2015 Brierly Steeplechase at Warrnambool this afternoon.
Valediction returned to jumps racing with a second place finish behind Beer Garden in the QLS Logistics Hurdle (3200m) at Ballarat on March 10 and he finished second again in the Star Printing Service Steeplechase (3450m) at Warrnambool on March 29 before he was beaten as a well-backed favourite in the QLS Great Southern Quality Steeplechase (3200m) at Ballarat on April 23.
Flood told RSN this morning that he has been happy with the form of Valediction this preparation and he believes that the Zabeel gelding is ready to perform at his best in the Brierly Steeplechase this afternoon.
“I think that he is ready to fire now,” Flood said.
“He has had three runs over the bigger ones and he has had a run around Warrnambool.
“He hasn’t been winning, but he has been running good.
“I have seen him in trackwork and he looks really good, so I think today he could give a real good sight.
“It is a good race, but I think I have a really good chance.
“He is a very, very good jumper.”
Flood has developed a relationship with Gai Waterhouse since she returned to jumps racing last year and he has recorded two wins and a placing in four race rides for the leading Sydney trainer this season.
The Irish jockey was able to win the Callaghan Motors Maiden Hurdle (3200m) with Waterhouse-trained Tenby Lady last year during the Warrnambool Racing Carnival and he is keen to score a feature race win for racings leading lady in the Brierly Steeplechase.
“I trackwork at Flemington for Troy Corstens and obviously Gai’s stable is next door to us, so when I heard she was getting a couple of jumpers I was pretty keen to get on one or two and just do a bit of work for her,” Flood said.
“To be fair she has given me a couple of nice winners and we got one at the Carnival last year, so it would be good if we could do that again.”
Valediction is currently available at 2015 Brierly Steeplechase odds of $6.50 and is on the third line of betting behind Thubiaan ($2.50) and Regina Coeli ($4.60).