Ciaron Maher and Steven Pateman fought back tears as they spoke of their mutual admiration for each other after combining to win their first Galleywood Hurdle together with Saunter Boy at Warrnambool on Wednesday.
Pateman selected Maher to be the best man for his wedding and Maher believed he chose wisely in bringing Pateman and Saunter Boy together for the Galleywood.
Pateman plotted a wide path aboard Saunter Boy ($2 favourite) who overran St Arnica ($8.50) and Out And Dreaming ($14) inside the final 100 metres to win the premier hurdling event of the Warrnambool May Carnival by a long neck.
A short neck separated runner-up St Arnica from the third-placed Out And Dreaming as racegoers this week witnessed yet another jumps race over the 2022 carnival decided by a slender margin.
“Steve Pateman is very understated, he’s very modest himself, but god he’s an elite rider,” Maher said.
“Steve is a great mate and he’s a very good rider. His determination, he is not a spring chicken anymore and he keeps fronting up. There’s nobody more competitive than him.
“He had to pull out all his ability to get that horse over the line, it was fantastic.”
WATCH: Saunter Boy wins the Galleywood Hurdle
The Australian jumps racing calendar has undergone many changes over the past two decades but Pateman and Maher, in recent seasons supported by training partner David Eustace, have won 27 feature jumps races.
“He was riding when I started riding and I wouldn’t be here without him 100 per cent,” Pateman said.
“It is always special to ride winners for him. He’s helped me a lot in my life and my riding career so it’s great.”
FEATURE RACES WON BY MAHER & PATEMAN COMBINATION
2008 Crisp Steeplechase (4000m) – Geeorb
2009 St Steven Steeplechase (3200m) – Geeorb
2009 Macdonald Steeplechase (3900m) – Geeorb
2010 Harry D Young Hurdle (3600m) – Art Success
2010 SA Grand National (3500m) – Man of Class
2011 Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) – Al Garhood
2012 & 2013 Grand National (4500m) – Bashboy
2013 Great Eastern Steeplechase (4950m) – Man of Class
2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 Crisp Steepelchase (3900m) – Bashboy
2013, 2014 & 2015 Thackeray Steeplechase (3450m) – Bashboy
2013 Mosstrooper Steeplechase (3600m) – Bashboy
2014 Von Doussa Steeplechase (3250m) – Palmero
2014 Brierly Steeplechase (3450m) – Palmero
2019 Brierly Steeplechase (3450m) – Bit of a Lad
2019 Champion Novice Hurdle (3200m) – Chequered Flag
2021 Von Doussa Steeplechase (3250m) – Yensir
2021 Australian Hurdle (3900m) – Saunter Boy
2021 Brendan Drechsler Hurdle (3500m) – Norway
2021 Kevin Lafferty Hurdle (3200m) – Saunter Boy
2022 M.J. Bourke Hurdle (3200m) – Saunter Boy
2022 Galleywood Hurdle (3200m) – Saunter Boy
Saunter Boy was beaten favourite in last year’s Galleywood Hurdle but atoned in this year’s event at a similar quote, asked to improve into the race from the 1000-metre mark and attempt to loop the field wide around the home turn.
“I was mindful he was carrying 70.5kg so those horses need to wind up with that weight,” Pateman said.
“Then in the straight I thought, ‘oh, Will Gordon he rides them on the flat, if he beats me (on St Arnicca) they’ll be saying he’s fitter than me as well’.”
Both Pateman and Gordon incurred sanctions from Racing Victoria stewards for breaching whip rules.
Pateman broke the rules twice, using the whip 13 times which included consecutive strikes prior to the 100-metre mark, and was fined a total of $2,400. Gordon used the whip consecutively inside the final 100 metres and was fined $600.
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