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Great Eastern winner a ‘champion’ says emotional trainer

Spying On You has been labelled “a champion” by his emotional trainer Grant Young after the horse won his second Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank today.

Spying On You denied Zed Em a fairy-tale third Great Eastern victory, overhauling the top weight after the final jump, cheered on by the vocal crowd.

It was the third Great Eastern success for Murray Bridge-based Young, who also won the race as a jockey.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Young told Racing.Com.

“Geez, he’s been a marvel, hasn’t he? I couldn’t be prouder of him. What a great performance.”

Spying On You ($5) was simply superior on the flat to the placegetters, which included his stablemate Pentelligentsia, who ran a bold fourth after setting the pace for much of 4950m journey. The victory added to Spying On You’s brilliant jumping career, which has included placings in some of Australia’s biggest jumps races.

“He’d be classed as a champion, wouldn’t he?” Young said of his winner, who became the 13th horse to win two Great Easterns.

“Big buzz, wasn’t it? I don’t think I’ll sleep much tonight.”

Spying On You tuned up for today’s race with an excellent victory on the flat last Sunday, on the opening day of the revamped 2021 Oakbank Carnival.

His regular jumps jockey partner, Tom Ryan, was full of praise for his tough 11-year-old.

“He’s just such a warrior,” an exhausted Ryan said immediately after the race.

“He comes back year in, year out – he’s what epitomises jumps racing.

“Him and Zed Em… go toe to toe every year, and Zed Em has always got the better of us, but we got the better of him today.”

Ryan said Spying On You was ridden close enough to get through his “flat spot” and still pick up the leaders down the straight.

“He jumped the last and he just put his head down and his ears flat back…” Ryan said.

Zed Em lost no admirers in second spot and took his career prizemoney to nearly $1.1 million.

Zed Em was looking to atone for his narrow defeat at Oakbank on Wednesday, when he was gunning for his fourth straight Von Doussa Steeplechase, but was denied by a head after a stirring battle with Yensir.

Earlier in the day Britannicus scored a brilliant win in the Harry D. Young Hurdle.

Camped up near the speed throughout, Britannicus jumped cleanly and showed superior stamina to prove too strong for Mr Coyne and Coleridge.

The winner was trained by Victorian horseman Symon Wilde and ridden by Ronan Short.

“It feels amazing as a winner,” said part-owner Nick Heathcote.

“We always thought getting him to Oakbank on a dry track was what he needed. And a great steer from Ronan.

“We’re over the moon.”

PHOTO: www.atkinsphotography.com.au

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