OVERSHADOWED by the runner-up’s performance, not much has been said about the victory of Wells at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
While he’s not a Melbourne Cup prospect, I think he has the potential to follow in the footsteps of champion hurdler Black And Bent – who is brilliant in both flat and jumps races.
Wells, trained just outside of Geelong by Kath Durden, boasts a handy career record of 11:5-0-1.
The former Lloyd Williams-owned galloper was a risky buy after never making it to the track for the racing millionaire, but has since found his feet on the track.
Durden is hopeful Wells can go on and be a top class jumper after winning on debut at Bendigo last month.
“He’s a really nice horse and has started to hit form,” she told Melbourne Racing of her five-year-old gelding.
A son of top-class sire Galileo, Wells is bred to stay and relishes racing over the longer distances.
Because of the weak talent pool of stayers in Victoria outside of the spring carnival, Durden is no doubt hopeful Wells can pick up plenty of cheques over the flat and the obstacles.
Durden’s husband Craig, one of the best jockeys to ever race over the jumps in Australia, said Wells would go for a spell and return to racing in the summer, with a view to him becoming a full-time jumper next winter.
“He’s shown he can jump, but I think there’s another flat race in him,” the ex-jockey said.
It was the former jockey who picked out Wells from Williams’ property.
“Craig went down to Lloyds and looked at a few Galileo horses there, but he really liked this one,” Kath said.
“It looks like he made a great decision.”
Wells won his first city race when scoring in the Benchmark 89 (3000m) at Moonee Valley, catching fellow flat/jumps horse Gotta Take Care in the last stride.
Wells was fifth at the 400m and gave up more than five lengths to Gotta Take Care, but under the urgings of apprentice Damien Thornton, found the line well to win by a whisker.
Controversy surrounded the race when Gotta Take Care’s jockey Steven King was fined $5000 for not riding out his mount in the closing stages.
Debate has since been raging about whether King cost his horse the race.
Not that the Durdens are too concerned.
“We don’t worry too much about all that other stuff,” Kath said.
“We’ll just take the win.”
Wells was well backed, firming from $10 to $6.50 equal favourite before the jump.
“We always thought he would run well, he loves that distance,” the trainer said.