Bass Strait will return to Group 1 racing for the first time in over 12 months when he contests the 2014 Railway Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Bass Strait made his racing debut in 2012 under the care of David Hayes and he was given an opportunity at black type level at just his second start when he finished eighth behind All Too Hard in the Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m) before he scored a maiden race win in the Super Impose 25th Anniversary Maiden (1300m) at Seymour at the end of 2012.
The Holy Roman Emperor gelding scored his maiden metropolitan win in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m) at Sandown on January 9 and he made his debut at Group level with a close fifth in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington before he was far from disgraced when fifth behind Ferlax in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
Bass Strait produced another consistent performance when fourth in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 15 and was sent to the spelling paddock after finishing tenth behind It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick.
He returned to the races during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and finished an unlucky fifth in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley before he finally broke through for a third career win in the TMB Printing Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
Bass Strait was given another chance at the highest level of racing when he finished ninth in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and he was denied a maiden win at Group level in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield before failed to run out the trip when 12th in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington.
The five-year-old was able to record just one placing in his five race starts during his autumn preparation and after failing to fire at the start of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, Hayes elected to sell him to veteran Perth trainer Neville Parnham.
Bass Strait made his Perth racing debut with a credible fifth in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November 1 before he secured a place in the 2014 Railway Stakes with a narrow win in the Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m).
Parnham, who was inducted into the Western Australian Racing Hall Of Fame on Saturday, has been impressed with the form around Bass Strait before he made the trip to Perth and he is happy to have got the gelding into the 2014 Railway Stakes field.
“It was a pretty good win,” Parnham told the media on Saturday.
“He is a new acquisition to the stable and I thought his effort was pretty promising.
“He finished a length off Fiorente 12 months ago and he went on to win a Melbourne Cup so the form was going to be strong.
“We thought he could get into a race like the Railway and it has worked out.”
Bass Strait is currently available at 2014 Railway Stakes odds of $15, while The Cleaner ($4.40) remains a clear favourite in betting.