Champion jumper Bashboy will have the opportunity to win the 2014 Grand National Steeplechase for the third year in a row after he took out the Crisp Steeplechase (3900m) in impressive fashion at Sandown yesterday.
Bashboy jumped from the gates well before being settled in the middle of the Crisp Steeplechase field and he worked into the race beautifully to take up the running when the field passed the finishing post for the first time.
The Perugino gelding was challenged by Maythehorsebemagic, but he responded well when asked for as extra effort by jockey Steve Pateman and he ran away from the rest of the field in the concluding stages to score a dominant eight lengths win over Half Moon Rising and Maythehorsebemagic.
Bashboy will likely be allocated 74.5 kilograms by Racing Victoria Handicappers for the Grand National Steeplechase at Sandown on July 27, but owner Ian Macdonald said after the race that he is happy to give the ten-year-old an opportunity to make history by winning the $200,000 event for the third year in a row.
“You would have to give it a go,” Macdonald said.
“He’s fit, he can carry weight and he’s a beautiful jumper.”
Steve Pateman has ridden plenty of quality horses in his record-breaking career, but he revealed after the Crisp Steeplechase win that he believes Bashboy is the best steeplechaser that he has ever ridden.
Pateman is confident that Bashboy will be able to maintain his winning form in the Grand National Steeplechase and thinks that he now knows the best way to ride the rising 11-year-old when he is allocated a hefty weight.
“Horses like Half Moon Rising are unreal to ride, but they don’t have the engine this horse has, he has everything,” Pateman said.
“I learned a lesson in the Australian Steeplechase last year where I let Brad (McLean) dictate and I had him unhappy the whole way sitting second with a big weight.
“I should have let him take it up; the horse is happy when he can run his own rhythm and he’s a smart horse, so he knows if he is going too fast.”
The Crisp Steeplechase victory of Bashboy capped off a successful weekend for Maher, who won the VRC-CRV Winter Championship Final with Akavoroun and the Banjo Paterson Series Final with Marksmanship at Flemington on Saturday.
Bashboy has now recorded ten wins from 13 starts over the jumps and has accumulated almost $750,000 in prizemoney for connections.