Strong entries for two-day Bool carnival

Gold Medals on his way to winning the 2018 Gran Annual at Warrnambool. Photo: Colin Bull

The all-jumps program to open an abbreviated Warrnambool carnival has attracted strong nominations in six races.

The May three-day carnival has been shortened this year because of COVID-19 restrictions and opens on Tuesday featuring Australia’s longest race, the Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m).

Gold Medals (NZ) (Elvstroem) and Zed Em (NZ) (Zed), who have shared the quinella in the past two runnings of the race, head the weights.

Zed Em has to carry 73kg if he is to repeat last year’s success, a rise of 3kg, while Gold Medals, the 2018 winner, has 69.5kg, and meets Zed Em 1.5kg better for his second placing last year.

Both jumpers are also entered for the Brierly Steeplechase over 3450m which is traditionally run on the opening day, two days before the Grand Annual.

Gold Medals won the double in 2018.

There are 23 horses nominated for the Brierly Steeplechase (3450m) of which 16 feature among Grand Annual entries.

Tuesday’s program also has a Benchmark 120 Steeplechase over 3450m (23 nominations) along with three 3200m hurdle races, the feature Galleywood Hurdle (14 nominations), a Novice Hurdle (20 nominations) and a Maiden Hurdle (34 nominations).

The maiden hurdle could be divided if there is sufficient acceptances on Friday.

Day two on Wednesday is an all-flat program featuring the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) attracting 30 nominations.