Great Northern Hopes For Amanood Lad

Amanood Lad took a winning step toward one of the country’s most prestigious jumping races when he was successful in yesterday’s McGregor Grant Steeplechase.

The Ben Foote-trained nine-year-old came off two flat runs to reign supreme in the feature event on the Ellerslie programme.

“He had a bit of a hiccup this time last year,” Foote said. “He had a slight tendon strain and we had to put him away and give him the time.

“I brought him to Ellerslie 10 days ago for a school and that helped to bring him on. It’s another stepping stone to the Great Northern.

“Aaron Kuru has done a lot of schooling, but he had to ride Bally Heights, who unfortunately ended up being scratched and then I actually rang Matt Gillies, but he couldn’t commit.

“I rang Richard (Cully)and he said he’d come over if I could get him a full book so I was the manager as well!”

The Melbourne-based Cully, who also won on Marvon Downs earlier in the day, enjoyed a grand holiday weekend.

He had won the Australian Steeplechase at Sandown on Saturday aboard Krase and also finished runner-up in the Australian Hurdles on stablemate Fieldmaster.

Cully had Amanood Lad in front for much of the race and they came back strongly to win by two lengths after they were headed by the runner-up Stainley coming down the hill the final time.

“It’s been a great weekend and great to be back in New Zealand,” he said. “He was still a little bit green in front, but he kept finding. It was a really tough win.”