Studd takes his chance for leading trainer

Charlie Studd made the most of his opportunity at Trentham for one of the country’s top jumping stables.
The Cambridge-based jockey combined with the Kevin Myers-trained The Big Opal for victory in Saturday’s Irvines McGregor Grant Steeplechase (4000m).
Although joining forces infrequently, they have a good strike rate with Studd now having ridden three winners from nine rides for the Wanganui horseman.
“It gives a lot of confidence and means a lot to be in these colours,” Studd said.
He allowed The Big Opal to bowl along in front and the nine-year-old gave an excellent display of jumping on his way to another win over the big fences.
“The track really helped him and he was going well and I was just saving him up,” Studd said.
The Big Opal had stablemate Sea King on his tail 3 f from home, but the son of Storm Creek wasn’t to be denied and he made the most of his four kilo pull in the weights to draw clear.
“He’s a tough horse and a lovely jumper,” Studd said. “We went along at a good gallop and he did the job, it’s fantastic.”
The Black Opal won twice on the flat and once over hurdles and has found the big fences much more to his liking.
His past successes include two editions of the Koral Steeplechase (4250m) and the Waikato Steeplechase (4000m).
Barn mate Sea King chased gamely after racing keenly through the early stages of the contest and Shamal made ground from the back for third.
The disappointment of the race was the favourite Wise Men Say, who settled at the tail of the field and stayed there.

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