Bit of a Lad brings home fourth Brierly

The team have kicked off the Warrnambool May Carnival in style, with Bit of a Lad saluting in the $150,000 Brierly Steeplechase, Ciaron Maher’s fourth win in the race in his career.

At just his second start over the fences, the five-year-old gelding only came into our care recently but is becoming a force to be reckoned with on the jumps circuit.

The win didn’t come without some drama as elation was quickly turned to anxiety when rival jockey Clayton Douglas protested that Steven Pateman, who steered Bit of a Lad to victory, interfered with his mount Gold Medals and cost them the race.

However, after much deliberation, the protest was dismissed, and the team were able to celebrate the win.

Maher gave credit to the Ballarat operation for getting the horse right and presenting him at the races in terrific order.

“Obviously a lot of the team that came across to our stable have a lot to do with him – it’s a credit to them and a credit to my brother (Declan Maher), he’s had to step up and do a lot with these horses,” Maher told Racing.com

“He had his first steeple start the other day and things didn’t go to plan, he had a little injury and they (the staff) sorted him out.

“Steve gave him an unbelievable ride; he saved all the ground. When he was last jumping the first, I thought ‘oh God, that wasn’t the plan’ but he never went around a horse and he’s a master.

“The owners have had a great ride with this horse and to win at Warrnambool, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Pateman showcased once again why he’s is regarded as one of the best riders over the jumps and credited the horse’s will to win.

“He was awesome,” the jockey said, “he really wanted it in the finish.”

“I said to Ciaron ‘he reminds of Al Garhood’, similar mannerisms and not much on the flat but he knew he was in a jumps race today and he was about a hand higher, so it was great,” he said.

Bit of a Lad pulled up well on Wednesday morning, after staying down at Warrnambool and having a wade through the beach.

It’s now full steam ahead to the Grand Annual on Thursday and he will be our first runner in the race since Regina Coeli’s triumph in 2017.