Champion jumps trainer Eric Musgrove once thought the future of jumps racing was bleak, but now he believes it’s brighter than ever.

Musgrove, one of the icons of the sport who claimed the Brierly Steeplechase with Thubiaan on the opening day of this year’s Warrnambool Carnival on Tuesday, now thinks jumps racing will continue to grow on the back of a raft of safety-related changes.

“I did (fear it was going to die out) and for the wrong reasons, that’s the ridiculous part about it,” he said.

“We are very, very fortunate Racing Victoria has spent a lot of money over the last five or six years to try and make it better, they could’ve got rid of it but they didn’t and look at the spectacle - it’s a crowd-pleaser.”

WATCH: Thubiaan's Brierly win




Musgrove says the number of horses jumping continues to increase and the support of big-name trainers like Gai WaterhousePeter Moody and Robert Smerdon only helps the cause.

“We went through a period where we haven’t had horses because we’ve got to get over the time when there was no confidence,” he said.

“Now people have got confidence in it - you only have to look at the quality of the horses and the quality of the trainers. I think it’s got a bright future.

“One of the best incentives that were put into place to actually get horses started was the $10,000 bonus for the first jumps race you win.

“You’ve got a race worth $12,000 then you get a $10,000 bonus and it encourages people to try them. And that’s what’s been happening.”

Musgrove acknowledges jumps racing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but believes it’s safer than ever and there’s a simple solution for the naysayers.

“There are people that don’t like it, there’s no question about it, but don’t come,” he said.

“There are a few that are against it and they are very vocal. People within the industry tend to go along and do their own thing and just try and keep to themselves instead of the publicity.

“I think there’s a real future in it with all the new safety aspects and the incentives.”