Bashboy belies history

Superstar fencer Bashboy became the second jumper to set a metric weight-carrying record at Sportingbet Park (Sandown) for the month with victory in yesterday’s $250,000 Grand National Steeplechase.

The Ciaron Maher-trained nine-year-old carried the heaviest weight to victory in a Grand National Steeplechase since Pedro’s Pride lumped the equivalent of 75.3kg to victory in 1957 when he lumped 72.5kg to victory over Kirribilli Gold and Chaparro.

It came two weeks after Black And Bent carried 72kg to victory in the Grand National Hurdle and Steven Pateman, who rode both horses, can’t believe the run he’s had.

“He’s a superstar,” he said. “It’s a privilege to have been a part of him.

“You wouldn’t have known he had 72.5. He didn’t feel it at all. He was comfortable in victory again.”

Bashboy became the eighth horse to win the Grand National Steeplechase two years in a row, and ninth multiple winner, when he made it seven wins from as many starts over the fences.

Pateman settled him in second spot and poured the pressure on leader Riviera Star heading up the hill at the back of the course before riding to victory on the strength of his superior jumping ability.

Kirribilli Gold ($8) shaped as a threat nearing the last fence, but Bashboy, the $1.65 favourite, jumped it better and edged away over the final furlong to score a 3-3/4-length win over that Robert Smerdon-trained mare. Chaparro ($10) was a further length away in third spot.

It was Maher’s third consecutive win in the race, having also won with Man of Class in 2011, and he was thrilled to see the plan come to fruition.

“Obviously he was the best horse in the race and I trained him to peak today,” Maher said. “Obviously the expectation was pretty high and it’s just good to get the job done.

“It was probably the best he jumped today. He made a mistake in the Crisp, but out in front he can bowl along and dictate. You could see he dropped the head going past the winning post the first time and just really settled and was quite dominant.”

The result only strengthened the view that Bashboy would be the ideal horse to head to England and compete and Maher said he would discuss that with connections once he sees how the son of Perugino comes through the run.

“Today was the target race for him, so we’ll just see how he is,” he said. “Obviously he’s in great form, we’ll sit down with the connections and plan his next target.

“Steve and myself both said think he’s got the quality and maybe some of the credentials you need to race over there, so we’ll just wait and see.”

Story by Brad Bishop