Bell Ex One lands the Australian Steeplechase at Sandown

Bell Ex One has produced another heart-stopper for connections, this time claiming a narrow victory in the Australian Steeplechase at Sandown.

The Andrew Bobbin-trained jumper was set for a comfortable victory in Sunday’s 3900m steeplechase, until the Henry Dwyer-trained Riding High rallied in the straight to go down narrowly.

Bell Ex One was out bobbed in Australia’s most gruelling race, the Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) at Warrnambool last month but freshened up nicely to win on Sunday.

Sent out the $2.30 betting app favourite under Will Gordon, Bell Ex One scored a half-head win over Riding High ($5.50) with Crosshill ($7) a further six lengths away third.

“Happy, relieved,” Bobbin said post-race.

“It was hard watching that. He was there for all money, but he didn’t want to put the head down at the right time once again, but luckily his class shone through.

“Henry’s horse was very brave in front, but Will Gordon did an excellent job.”

Bobbin said he was not concerned at having Bell Ex One drop back in distance from the 5500m of the Grand Annual to 3900m on Sunday.

He said the gelding has plenty more racing ahead of him this season.

“Our first jumps run of the season was the Annual,” Bobbin said.

“I was happy that we ran so well in that, and he was in the paddock two days afterwards.

“He was bucking and squealing like a two-year-old, so I wasn’t really concerned about him getting through the run.

“He’s only six years old, so if we keep him sound, he’s got a good future.”

Gordon said Bell Ex One was his own worst enemy, striking the front and then waiting for the opposition to catch up.

He said Bell Ex One doesn’t do anything by big margins and luckily, he was able to put his head in front at the right time.

“The hardest part of my race today was going to be timing my run, but I think I timed it just right and he got the result” Gordon said.

“He’s as tough as nails to run in the races that he runs in, but if he was a person he’d be slouched over a bar most of the time with a group of people around him, not being on his own.

“He just waits for other horses to come around him, but he’s got the job done and has lots of ability.”

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