Pate­man to miss Grand Na­tional

The Press - - Racing -

Lead­ing Aus­tralian jumps jockey Steve Pate­man has come up short in his bid to be fit for Grand Na­tional Hur­dle day at Sandown.

The New Zealan­der was hop­ing to be back for Sun­day’s meet­ing which also fea­tures the Crisp Steeple­chase and the Group Three Bletch­ingly Stakes aban­doned on Sat­ur­day at Caulfield be­cause of high winds.

A dual jockey/trainer li­cence holder, Pate­man hasn’t rid­den in a race since early June af­ter suf­fer­ing a bro­ken leg when he was kicked by a horse on his prop­erty at Bar­won Heads.

While back do­ing some light rid­ing, Pate­man says mus­cle wastage means he won’t be fit enough to ride on Sun­day.

He hopes to make his re­turn at the all jumps meet­ing, which in­cludes the Grand Na­tional Steeple­chase, at Bal­larat on Au­gust 20.

Pate­man said his legs were build­ing up rapidly but he would not do any­one any jus­tice if he rode on Sun­day.

‘‘It’s heart­break­ing,’’ Pate­man said. ‘‘It’s the first time I’ve missed any rac­ing re­ally in my whole ca­reer, so it could be worse I guess.

‘‘It was an am­bi­tious goal to be back for the Na­tional but once I got back on a horse I knew I wouldn’t be do­ing any­one any favours.

‘‘The sur­geon is re­ally happy with the leg but with the mus­cle wastage, it feels like I’m rid­ing with one leg.’’

While side­lined with in­jury Pate­man has been build­ing the train­ing side of his busi­ness and is en­joy­ing that side of his ca­reer.

Pate­man won’t fea­ture with a run­ner on Sun­day, con­cen­trat­ing on the mid­week meet­ing at Sale where he will have five starters.

He did con­sider run­ning Un­abashed in the Crisp Steeple­chase but in­stead he will be one of four run­ners for the sta­ble in a steeple­chase at Sale.

‘‘I toyed with run­ning Un­abashed in the Crisp but un­der the set weights and penal­ties it would be too hard,’’ Pate­man said. ‘‘So we’ll run him at Sale and we’re ex­cited to have five run­ners over jumps on Wed­nes­day.’’

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