Grand National Hurdle goal for Saunter Boy

Star jumper Saunter Boy has been marking time after jumps victories to start the season before Ciaron Maher and David Eustace again get serious.

After winning the Galleywood Hurdle (3200m) at Warrnambool and the Australian Hurdle (3900m) at Sandown last month, Saunter Boy has been given an easy time in preparation for his next main target.

That race is the Grand National Hurdle (4200m) at Sandown on August 7, a race Saunter Boy failed to complete the course in last year, won by stablemate Wil John, before going on to claim the J J Houlahan Hurdle (3200m) at Ballarat on August 29.

Eustace said he had spoken to Declan Maher who oversees the preparation of the jumpers for the Maher and Eustace stable to see where Saunter Boy was in his campaign.

Saunter Boy had a hurdle school over 2400m at Traralgon on June 3 which Eustace said was to keep him ticking over and have his eye in for a return to the jumps.

Eustace said there was two flat options for Saunter Boy in coming weeks, the Stayer’s Cup (2600m) at Randwick on Saturday or the Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m) at Flemington the following week which in turn could lead to the Brendan Dreschler Hurdle (3500m) at Pakenham on July 17.

“I spoke to Dec about him just the other day to see where we are at, and he’s got some different options coming up,” Eustace said.

“He might run on the flat here, he could run on the flat in Sydney in the Stayers’ Cup, or he could go to Pakenham over hurdles.

“Whatever race he runs in will lead into the National which is the main aim.

“He had a school at Traralgon recently just to keep him ticking over and he seems to have maintained his form, which is good a good sign.”

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