Saunter Boy has confirmed his star status on the jumps circuit with a second win in the feature hurdle of the Warrnambool May Carnival.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained jumper carried 70.5kg to win last year’s Galleywood Hurdle but rose just 0.5kg to take out the 3200m contest on Wednesday.
Sent out the $1.75 favourite under Steven Pateman, Saunter Boy scored by 2-½ lengths from the early leader Fabalot ($14) with Instigator ($8.50) a further two lengths away third.
Wednesday’s outing in the Galleywood was Saunter Boy’s third attempt in the coveted hurdle race.
He finished fourth in 2021 before winning last year where he later claimed the Australian Hurdle at Sandown, the Brendan Drechsler Hurdle at Pakenham and the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown.
Maher said Saunter Boy was a ‘super horse’ who was always in control of Wednesday’s race.
“I said to Steve when he was going out that ‘if you’re half thinking about it, just go for it because he’s so ready to go this year’,” Maher said.
“It was super.
“To come back and to win with the weights he does, he’s very, very good.
“A lot of work goes into these horses and he’s obviously a stable favourite. They kept him busy in the off season, just ticked him over.
“Big thanks to Australian Bloodstock. To send the horse down to see if he liked jumping, what a champion he’s become.
“Kudos to them for giving us the opportunity.”
Pateman said it was good to ride in a ‘proper race’ on a good horse.
He said the tempo of Wednesday’s race had been strong which suited Saunter Boy.
“I said to Willie (McCarthy) after the race that this was a proper race. It didn’t feel like we were on a Heavy 10,” Maher said.
“We went at a proper good race tempo. These are good races to ride in on a good horse.
“He came off the bit before the second last, but Ciaron said he’s fit and if you’re thinking about it ‘just go’.
“Into the second last, that was him home. I knew he was home then and just had to get over the last.
“He was careful over the last but was too good.”