Champion steeplechaser Bashboy will finish his jumping career in Australia even if he collects back to back wins in the $250,000 Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) at Sportingbet Park Sandown on Sunday.
Bashboy’s great jumping record had generated discussion of an overseas campaign but trainer Ciaron Maher has confirmed that the Reigning Australian Jumper Of The Year will see out his jumping days at home.
“He has a lot of qualities I think you need to race overseas,” Maher said.
“But Ian McDonald said after the Crisp the horse will be enjoyed in Australia and that he won’t be leaving.”
Maher has followed owner Ian McDonald’s wishes and set Bashboy to win his second Grand National Steeplechase which will be his seventh jumps win in succession if successful.
“So I said we’d target the back end of the season again and if we want him to peak for for this week there is no point having him running in April and May,” Maher said.
“That’s what we tried to do and it is so far so good.”
Bashboy has been lumped with 72.5kgs for his consistency and is up sharply in weight after carrying 69kgs to win the $100,000 Crisp Steeple (3900m) at Sportingbet Park Sandown two weeks ago when he beat Cats Fun by three and a quarter lengths.
The start before at Warrnambool Bashboy beat Cats Fun by two lengths with 71.5kgs in the $100,000 Thackeray Steelpechase over 3450m and Maher has his finger’s cross that his stable star will handle the extra impost.
“Obviously going to the 4500m the weight is some concern,” Maher said.
“How much weight will stop him I don’t know. He’s raced basically the same field at that weight scale and if the extra kilo is enough to pull him up we won’t know until the race.”
Jockey Steven Pateman has forged a great partnership with Bashboy and has been aboard the nine year old’s last six wins over the fences as well a win on the flat in a 2400m highweight at Pakenham on May 20.
Even though Cats Fun again has a huge weight advantage, Pateman is confident that Bashboy has the ability to stretch his winning run to seven.
“He’s only up 1kg for his Warrnambool win and he meets a similar field,” Pateman said.
“The hardest to beat is Cats Fun, he meets us better at the weights, but I feel Bashboy is a better stayer than him and the rest of the field.
“The key thing is he wants the trip. I’d be even more confident if it was over further.”
Bashboy has been posted the $1.50 favourite to keep his winning streak going with the Jarrod McLean trained Cats Fun and Robert Smerdon’s Kirribilli Gold sharing the second line of betting at $5.50.