Musgrove to the fore in jumping features

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May 26, 2017 - 02:45 PM

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Trainer Eric Musgrove has been near the top of the jumps game for the best part of four decades.

He has won countless feature jumps races in Victoria and South Australia and famously trained Karasi to win the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan on three successive occasions.

Sandown is the home of jumps racing in the Melbourne metropolitan area and hosts both the Australian Hurdle (3400m) and Steeplechase over the same distance on Saturday.

Musgrove has four of the nine hurdle acceptors and one of the eight in the steeplechase and gives himself an outside chance of success in both races.

Transcript contests the steeplechase coming off a last-start second in a steeplechase at Ballarat.

Musgrove describes Transcript as a strong stayer who will get better as the races get longer.

"He's only a young horse on the way up," Musgrove said.

"I think he'll be a horse that will be around when the Nationals (in August) are on all going well but they might be a little bit too classy for him over this journey."

Urban Explorer, Earthbound and Abebe are set to run in the hurdle with Musgrove undecided on About The Journey because he is unlikely to get his preferred heavy conditions.

He says Urban Explorer and Abebe go into the feature race in good order while Earthbound is having his first run back over jumps this campaign.

Urban Explorer was a last-start winner on the flat at Sale while Abebe scored a maiden hurdle win at Casterton last Sunday.

Musgrove said he was expecting the Sandown ground to be perfect for Urban Explorer.

"He's in good heart and while he might not be as sharp as a couple of them he'll make it interesting if they're not 100 per cent on their game," he said.

Musgrove noted Abebe had plenty of hurdle racing under his belt this campaign.

"It's a big jump for him but he's done everything right and is rock hard fit," he said.

"It's a big race but he's had four or five runs over hurdles now and is seasoning up well.

"He's improving with each run and he won creditably last time so I thought he deserves a chance."

Musgrove said Earthbound could be in need of Saturday's race but was a good jumper who would appreciate the Sandown lay-out.