Bashboy – the next Australian to tackle England?

Bashboy - clear at the last

Bashboy - clear at the last

Australian trained horses have come over to race at Royal Ascot with some success in recent years. Now they have a Grand National winner who could be seen in England next winter, though probably not in our National at Aintree.

The horse in question is Bashboy, who confirmed his place as one of the modern-day greats of Australian jumps racing with a dominant win in the Grand National Steeplechase at Sandown at the weekend. He became the ninth horse to double up in the country’s National, with jockey Steve Pateman carrying top weight of 72.5k (11st 5lbs). It was a seventh straight win for Bashboy, who now seems to have nothing left to prove at home.

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Pateman flagged up why Aintree would be an unlikely goal should Bashboy come over to Britain. The Australian National is run over a distance of less than 3 miles. The jockey said, “The thing is the horse's stamina. He would have gone another 1000 metres no worries, and that would suit him over there. It would be great to get over there and see how he jumps their fences and hopefully fly the flag for Australia.”

Trainer Ciaron Maher is convinced his charge has what it takes to make a success overseas, and after a perfect round of jumping in the race you can see why he thinks that. He said after the race, “We think he has the quality and some of the credentials you need to race over there. Steve has always held him in the highest regard and I'll talk to the owners now, and discuss where we go with him.”

Maher recognised there were several challenges to overcome before any firm plans would be confirmed. He added, “There is just so much you don’t know. He would have to get there, and we’d have to see how he handled it, what sort of weight they gave him, what sort of races he’d be qualified for.” Some of that can be done to inform a decision on whether to come over to England, but so much you can only find out in the actual doing.

Maher will be able to garner advice from trainers who have brought horses over here, including Peter Moody and Danny O’brien. And while, just as a year ago when there was similar speculation that Bashboy might be coming to England, the idea might come to nothing, it’s something I would look forward to.

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