Pateman chasing Northern win

Amanood Lad (Steve Pateman) on his way to his second McGregor Grant Steeplechase win. (Photo: Trish Dunell/ NZ Racing Desk).

Amanood Lad (Steve Pateman) on his way to his second McGregor Grant Steeplechase win. (Photo: Trish Dunell/ NZ Racing Desk).

Champion Australian jumps jockey Steve Pateman will again cross the Tasman to ride Amanood Lad in his pursuit of a first Great Northern victory.

“It’s a unique race and while I understand it’s a hard race for an Australian-based jockey, it remains one of my career goals to win it,” said Pateman.

“I’ve finished second on Tobouggie Nights and third on Amanood Lad last year. I’ll be doing all I can to get one.”

Amanood Lad has gone bush in the build-up toward his third Great Northern Steeplechase.

Cambridge trainer Ben Foote has varied the 12-year-old’s preparation to have him in the best frame of mind for Saturday’s Meadow Fresh-sponsored feature at Ellerslie.

“He’s been working over the hills on a mate’s farm for the last 10 days,” said Foote. “He seems bright enough and it keeps his brain fresh.”

The winner of the Northern in 2014 and third 12 months ago, Amanood Lad has mixed his form this time around.

He lost his rider in his first jumping outing of the campaign in the McGregor Grant Steeplechase before a runner-up finish at Te Aroha. A sixth placing followed in the Wellington Steeplechase two runs back and he was then a distant seventh in the Pakuranga Hunt Cup.

“Pakuranga is usually a good guide, but at least we’ve dropped a kilo,” said Foote.

“I don’t think fitness is an issue at all with him. It’s whether the horse still wants to be there so we’re more hopeful than confident this time.”

Foote has also made a gear addition following Amanood Lad’s last-start performance.

“We’ll put a tongue tie on him. I think he may have got his tongue over the bit,” he said.

– NZ Racing Desk.