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Wells ready for jumps return at Sandown

Punters should not read anything into classy jumper Wells missing a run in a 3200m flat race at Flemington.

The Kathryn Durden-trained gelding is set to run in the Australian Steeplechase at Sandown on Saturday looking to turn around his second placing in last year’s 3400m race.

Wells was scratched from the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) at Flemington on Saturday won by De Little Engine.

“He’s fit and ready to go on Saturday,” Durden said.

“He was in that race because it was the perfect distance for him.

“If the track had come up softer he would have run but it didn’t and that’s the only reason he didn’t run.

“We’re happy with his fitness and steeplechasing is his go.”

Wells ran second to Angelology in last year’s race carrying 69kg, conceding 5kg to the winner.

Angelology is among the 13 nominations for Saturday’s race as well as being entered for the Australian Hurdle and a 2400m flat race.

Wells has been given a solid grounding for his return to jumping, finishing an unlucky fourth behind De Little Engine on the flat at Flemington on May 6 before running second to another entrant on Saturday, Now And Zen, in a Ballarat steeplechase school on May 17.

“He went around and did his own thing without any pressure,” Durden said.

“We would like a genuine speed for him as it allows him to come into it as he’s a really good stayer.”

While successful on a heavy track in last year’s Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat, Durden says Wells is more effective on slightly firmer ground.

Durden has her eyes on a third Grand National victory with Wells who also won in 2014.

She plans a couple of flat races after Saturday before a return to the jumps and the Crisp Steeplechase in the lead-up to the National in August.

Wells was set to run in the Crisp last year but suffered a bout of colic on race day.

Richard Cully, who won the Grand National last year on Wells, takes the ride on Saturday.

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