No Problem Says Houston

 
Local jumps jockey Shelley Houston had a great day at Ellerslie last Sunday.
The popular hoop stole the show with an impressive three race haul at the National Jumps Day.
Houston took out the major race aboard Climbing High and was also successful aboard Shakeitup and Handsome As.
Climbing High capped off another grand jumping season with a brave win in the Open Steeplechase.
The rising 12 year old recorded his 8th steeplechase win of his career when out finishing The Fox and Cape Kinaveral over 4150m.
To most observers it was one of the bravest wins seen all jumping season.
“Absolutely” was Houston’s response when asked if she agreed with that assessment.
“He never stopped trying, even under his 69.5kgs….. he’s an amazing horse” said Houston.
Climbing High looked likely to finish second behind pacemaker The Fox, after jumping the last fence.
“I thought the leader had us covered but the old boy kept chasing and he (ClimbingHigh) got the other horse easily in the end” said Houston.
Shaune Phelan, rider of The Fox, couldn’t believe Climbing High was able to beat him.
“Coming to the last fence it was just a matter of popping over safely, my horse was travelling that well” said Phelan.
“You have to hand it to the winner, but my horse is certainly one for the future”  added an obviously impressed Phelan.
The victory of Climbing High was best summed up by his number one fan, Houston.
“He can be a hard horse to ride, you have to let him do what he wants to do, when he wants to, otherwise he’ll pull pin” said Houston.
“But when he’s in this mood he’s a great horse to ride” she added.
 
Houston started the day with a brilliant front running display aboard Shakeitup.
Owned and trained by local couple Michael Roustoby and Jennifer McIlroy, Shakeitup stamped his class when winning over 2760m.
Allowed to trail in the early stages, Shakeitup was sent forward by Houston with a lap to go.
“They weren’t going that fast so I let him stride along ” said Houston later.
The 6 yr old  certainly did “stride along”, so much so that he was out by a dozen lengths with 1400m to go.
“I hadn’t planned on being that far in front but he was doing it so easily” said Houston.
Although the opposition got to within four lengths on the home turn, Shakeitup never looked in any danger.
“He was bolting coming to the last fence and they were never going to beat him” said Houston.
Mark down Shakeitup as one to follow next season.
 
Houston’s third win on the day came courtesy of Handsome As.
Trained in Cambridge by Denise Venn, Handsome As proved too strong for race favourite Whistling Straits, winning over 1600m.
The lightly raced son of Handsome Ransom had indicated with a promising last start third placing, that a winning turn wasn’t too far away.
“I thought he was a definite winning chance today, and so it proved” said Houston.
Allowed to settle near the rear, Handsome As made ground along the inside as the field turned for home.
“We got a nice run through them on the turn and once he balanced up, he was always going to win” said Houston.
Handsome As looks a likely prospect and gives the impression more ground will suit him too.
 
Capping off a great day for Cambridge trained horses were Old Drumble and Hunter’s Creek.
Old Drumble, trained by Ralph Manning, scored nicely for Jacob McKay in the Amateur Rider’s race.
The Michael Wallace trained Hunter’s Creek broke his maiden status when winning over 2100m.
 
Catch you next week.
 
Cheers
 
George.