Home' Ignition Annual : April 1st 2011 Contents WHILE the past uncertainty about
jumps racing caused ripple effects
across the racing industry, no one's
business was more affected than leading
Cranbourne jumps trainer Eric Musgrove.
But that's all in the past with the master
trainer now targeting another bumper
"The jumps team is in place and we're
fairly excited about what's coming up,"
"Maybe early in the season we're not
going to be 100 per cent ready, but we'll
be there when some of the big races are on
and I'm looking forward to it."
Musgrove, who won back-to-back
Grand Annual Steeplechases in 2001-02
with Hibernian Prince, said the change in
state government gave some much needed
certainty to the jumps racing industry.
"We're now planning more for the
future. We've brought another five or six
horses into the stable to jump and we've
now got 16 jumpers in work,"he said.
"We had tapered back the last two
seasons because there had been so much
negativity from the industry itself and
numbers across the board dropped back.
But the change of government has made a
huge difference because everyone is now
supporting jumps racing.
"We need to take jumps racing back
to where it should be. I'm predicting a
lot of support for the industry - I'm very
Musgrove said there was no reason
why the Australian jumps racing industry
couldn't copy the success of jumps racing
in England --- given support.
"Jumps racing should be an exciting
part of the industry. The powers that be
need to look at that --- it's unique,"he
"Jumps racing is far more popular
in England than racing on the flat and
there is more money bet on jumps racing.
There's no reason why that financial
success can't be repeated over here.
"We were on a high just a few years ago
but a few factors brought in negativity.
trainer Robert Smerdon
promises to be back in
Warrnambool for the Tabcorp
May Racing Carnival but he
can't see himself driving home
with another $88,000-four-
wheel-drive Mercedes Benz.
Smerdon became the first
trainer to win the lucrative
prize for training four
winners, including either the
winner of the Grand Annual
Hurdle, Wangoom Handicap
or the Warrnambool Cup.
"You have to have the right
mix of horses, having both
flat and jumps horses. A lot of
the big stables don't have that
component of jumping horses
and a lot of the bigger jumps'
stables probably don't have
the flat horses,"Smerdon said.
"To then have a strike rate
of at least one in five starters
to winners is tough and
then there are all the other
factors like barriers and track
"I'll have a fair
representation this year, but
I don't think we'll have the
depth we had last year."
Smerdon said he had half-
a-dozen jumpers in work but
stable star Black And Bent
and a couple of his more
experienced campaigners were
coming back from injury and
wouldn't be forward enough
for bold showings at the
"If they come down it will
be for flat races and we'll
be looking for horses like
Stoneblack to come through
the ranks. We just don't have
the depth to have the same
impact we had last year,"he
cranbourne trainer targets
another bumper jumps season
repeat performance for
smerdon a tough call
ANDREW THOMSON speaks with Cranbourne-based jumps trainer Eric Musgrove,
who is looking forward to a positive future in the jumps racing industry.
Leading Melbourne trainer
Robert Smerdon, who won
last year's Mercedes Benz.
"Imagine suspending jumps racing
during your biggest jumps carnival --- the
negativity was ridiculous,"he said.
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