Last season’s premiership winning jumps jockey Aaron Kuru secured the biggest scalp of his riding career when taking out the Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) at Ballarat on Sunday aboard the Patrick Payne-trained Tallyho Twinkletoe.
The duo have formed a formidable partnership, retaining their 100 percent strike-rate after combining to win the Grand National Hurdle (4200m) at Sandown earlier this month.
Kuru was delighted with the win although he said the nine-year-old gelding was overly eager in the early stages of the race.
“In the first half of the race he was probably doing a bit more than he needed to. He was a bit fresh and a bit keen and fired up.
“Nevertheless, he settled into his work and he finished the race off nicely.”
Kuru was quick to divert praise to part-owner Jo Rathbone and former trainer Kevin Myers after the win.
“I am only a small piece of the puzzle,” he said. “I have only sat on the horse twice and both times they were at the races.
“I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes with them, but what they have done with this horse is pretty amazing.
“Jo did say to me before the National Hurdles that no one has seen the best of this horse. She proved that with what he did on Sunday.”
With the victory Tallyho Twinkletoe became the first horse since Mosstrooper in 1930 to take out the Grand National Hurdle-Steeplechase double in the same season.
“I think he is just a true stayer and he just jumps what is in front of him,” Kuru said.
“He has also got plenty of speed, which goes along with his stamina. He is the perfect horse to break the record on Sunday.”
While Kuru expected regular rider Mathew Gillies to regain the ride after missing the Grand National Hurdle following a fall at Riccarton earlier this month, he was pleased to secure the ride and win against strong company.
“I didn’t think I was going to pick the ride up again,” he said. “I thought Mat Gillies was going to take the ride, but they offered me the ride and I jumped at the chance.
“I think that was one of the strongest fields I have been up against in my career. It was a really good field and it wasn’t going to be easy, but he made it look that way.”
Kuru is unsure what the next steps are for the son of St Reims, who was bred by Ardsley Stud’s Jim Wallace, but he is hoping he is part of those future calculations.
“I don’t think Jo or Kevin have made any plans just yet, but it’s pretty exciting.” – NZ Racing Desk