Jumps racing is usually considered the domain of the older brigade of the equestrian world, more so steeplechasers.
Five-year-old gelding Getting Leggie isn’t in that league and makes his debut over the bigger jumps in Saturday’s Australian Steeplechase at Sandown.
Getting Leggie is an accomplished hurdler, winning twice and being placed another two times in eight starts, but trainer Nick Smart said his future was always over the bigger jumps.
“His jumping is his real strength,” Smart said.
Smart has learned from his mistakes with Getting Leggie who he said was thriving on the work.
A losing his rider in a hurdle at Oakbank in April last year and falling in a Murray Bridge race, Getting Leggie’s confidence was sapped, but with two hurdle wins in his past four starts Smart sees a different horse.
“In his first season he lost all confidence and I probably made a mistake in pushing on with him last season,” Smart said.
“He’s come back a much better horse this time around. He’s got his confidence back and he’s flying.
“He’s thriving on it and looking better and better with every run and he looks a bit out of place in the mounting yard.
“In these jumps races you look at the other horses that are lean and mean while he’s still looking big and strong and bouncing.”
Getting Leggie gained his ticket to run in a steeplechase trial at Ballarat last week, winning on heavy ground.
As a precaution Smart also entered Getting Leggie for Saturday’s Australian Hurdle.
“I had him in the hurdle just in case it was going to be an easier race, but I’m glad we’ve gone the way we have,” Smart said.
“I’m sure in the long term he’s going to be better off.”
Having been up and going early in the jumps season which kicked off in March, Getting Leggie could earn a short break with success on Saturday.
“He’s done a great job,” Smart said.
“If he happened to come out and win we might back off him for a few weeks and look for some more races towards the back end of the season.”