Champion jumper Bashboy returned to his best form to take out the Crisp Steeplechase for the fourth year in a row at Warrnambool yesterday.
Bashboy went into the Crisp Steeplechase as favourite despite being pulled up in the final stages of the Mosstrooper Steeplechase (3600m) at Bendigo on June 28 and he was settled in a lovely position by jockey Steven Pateman in the early stages of the race.
The 11-year-old stalked King Triton, Valediction and Regina Coeli throughout the race before Pateman took him up to challenge for the lead coming into the final straight and he ran away from his rivals in the final stages before he held-off a fast-finishing Sea King to record an historic Crisp Steeplechase victory.
Pateman was formed a strong bond with Bashboy since he steered him to a dominant 20 lengths victory at Warrnambool in July of 2012 and he is now certain that the son of Perguino is the best steeplechaser that Australia has produced since Crisp.
“He’s won four Crisp Steeplechases and I think Bashboy is the best steeplechaser that we’ve had since Crisp,” Pateman said.
“He’s a brilliant horse.
“The track was probably the heaviest I’ve ever seen it through Brierly paddock today and he just loved it.
“He made a mistake when Thubiaan lost his jockey early but that kind of woke him up a bit and he jumped really well from then on, he always jumps well though.”
Trainer Ciaron Maher was thrilled to see Bashboy return to his best form following his Mosstrooper Steeplechase flop, but he was quick to pay credit to the outstanding ride of Pateman.
The always modest trainer was also quick to thank the work of his dedicated team and he made specific mention of the work of his stable foreman Ian Gilchrist.
“It was a super effort by Steve, the horse looked like he wanted to get it over and done with early and he was racing a little bit keen,” Maher said.
“He saved all the ground and gave the horse every chance under the big weight and the old boy got the job done.
“To win this race four years in a row is unbelievable.
“It’s a credit to my team and to Ian Gilchrist my foreman, he does a lot of work with this horse to get him here in this shape again each year.”
Bashboy will have the chance to break the $1 million prizemoney when he contests the Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat on July 26.