Jumps champions headed to Bendigo for Mosstrooper Steeplechase day

Australia’s Karasi, far right, with Brett Scott aboard, clears the hurdle en route to win the 9th running of the Nakayama Grand Jump at Nakayama Racecourse in 2007. Picture: AP Photo/Sankei Shimbun
Australia’s Karasi, far right, with Brett Scott aboard, clears the hurdle en route to win the 9th running of the Nakayama Grand Jump at Nakayama Racecourse in 2007. Picture: AP Photo/Sankei Shimbun

JUMPS racing royalty will grace Bendigo Jockey Club next weekend for its annual Mosstropper Steeplechase race day.

Australia’s three-time Group 1 Nakayama Grand Jump winner Karasi will lead the field onto the track for the $100,000 feature race, accompanied by his former jockey Brett Scott.

Karasi, who was only this year inducted in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, created his own slice of history by becoming the first horse to win the world’s richest jumping race, the 4250m Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan, three years in succession (2005, 2006 and 2007).

Jockey Brett Scott returns to scale on Karasi after winning the Australian Hurdle in 2004. Picture: PAUL ROVERE

Jockey Brett Scott returns to scale on Karasi after winning the Australian Hurdle in 2004. Picture: PAUL ROVERE

His 2007 win came at the ripe old age of 13, when he was the oldest runner in the 15-horse field.

The Eric Musgrove-trained gelding was retired in 2013 after injuring a tendon in trackwork, in the lead-up to another tilt at the Grand Jump.

While best known as a jumper, Karasi was also a more than handy flats performer earlier in his career for former trainer David Hall.

Karasi won a Geelong Cup, was placed twice in the Brisbane Cup and once in the Adelaide Cup and finished fourth in the 2001 Melbourne Cup won by Ethereal.

His 97 career starts produced 16 wins and 20 minor placings for $3,747, 283 in prizemoney.

He won nine of 18 races over the jumps and was placed on seven other occasions.

Karasi shares a special affinity with Bendigo. The Irish-bred horse, who started his race career in England, won his first race on Australian turf over 2200m at Bendigo in September 1999.

He raced here four times and was fifth in the 199 Bendigo Cup.

BJC chief executive officer Aaron Hearps said the club was fortunate to secure the services of both Karasi and Scott.

“The club is very thankful to Karasi’s ex-trainer Eric Musgrove for bringing his champion back to Bendigo, where he is one of our 21 Nursery of Champions, who have gone on to Group 1 glory after winning their first race at Bendigo,” he said.

The Mosstropper is one of five jumps races to be contested on Sunday, including two steeplechases and three hurdles events.

The feature 3600m hurdle race is named in honour of past BJC president and life member Brendan Drechsler.

A seven-race card will commence at 12.50pm, with gates open from 11am.

An on-coursed tipping competition will offer patrons a chance to win an all-inclusive table of 10 at this year’s Jayco Bendigo Cup, valued at $2200.