Zed Em targets third Great Eastern victory at Oakbank

A narrow loss in a sensational edition of the Von Doussa has done nothing to dent the confidence of trainer Patrick Payne as he eyes a hat-trick of Great Eastern Steeplechase wins with champion Zed Em at Oakbank on Saturday.

The cards fell against Zed Em earlier this week in one of the great jumps battles of recent years when the outstanding son of Zed was narrowly beaten by the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Yensir.

The pair were locked in a ding dong battle a long way from home before Yensir narrowly poked his head in front on the line to capture the 3250m contest.

However Zed Em lost no admirers in defeat and his trainer says the rising 11-year-old can go one better just four days later.

“The winner had him covered 1000m from home and he just kept fighting,” Payne said.

“He did what he could and just went down but was tough as ever.

“I thought he raced like he would be suited better over the 4900m of Saturday‘s race now.

“He wasn’t as dashing as he normal is.”

What an epic edition of the Von Doussa Steeplechase 🤯🤯🤯

Yensir holds off Zed Em in an incredible finish 🥇 pic.twitter.com/Jv4ZuRMbWp

Payne said Zed Em had pulled up in good order from his epic battle and was good to go for another round this weekend.

“He was sound and well on Thursday morning after the run,” he said.

“We just took him for a walk up the road and won’t do much with him between now (Friday) and Saturday. He’s nice and fit now.

Zed Em won his first Great Eastern in 2018 when the race was staged 13 days after the Von Doussa and backed it up to win the double again the following year.

He is the hot favourite to add a third win to that tally on Saturday with TAB.com.au rating him a $1.55 favourite for the feature with a field of seven remaining for the Great Eastern.

Payne maintains his star galloper still has plenty of competition for the $127,000 main event.

“I think the queries have to be the two Grant Young horses, Spying On You and Pentelligentsia,” he said.

“They are coming in fresh to the race from their wins and I am very respectful of the stable.

Both Spying On You and Pentelligentsia were winners over the jumps in races at Oakbank on Wednesday.

Saturday will also see the running of the Harry D Young Hurdle (3600m) as well as the Listed Hills Railway Stakes (1100m).

Originally published asChampion jumper ready to get Em again

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