Bashboy set for England after Grand National win
Report: Australia, Sunday
Sandown: Grand National Steeplechase 4,500m (2m6½f)
CONNECTIONS of top Australian jumper Bashboy (Ciaron Maher/Steve Pateman) could be eyeing a visit to Britain after his stunning win in Sunday's Grand National Steeplechase at Sandown.
Sent off near 1-2 favourite, Bashboy won Australia's premier steeplechase and his fifth jumps race from only six starts over jumps by seven lengths, confirming Maher's opinion that he is world-class.
"I've always liked the idea of taking a horse to England and I'd love to see him run over there," Maher said.
"Maybe we'll go there, or maybe we'll go to Warrnambool for the Grand Annual next year."
Bashboy had stamped his quality by winning his previous two steeplechase starts by a combined total of 31 lengths but faced his toughest test on Sunday.
The eight-year-old ran the best race of his jumping career to repel the challenge of the heavily backed Dhaafer, who nosed out Seeking The Silver to take second place.
Maher acknowledges the depth and quality of jumps racing in England is formidable, but he's not too concerned.
"He's really a quality horse and it wouldn't matter how big the jumps were," Maher said. "He can jump anything."
Bashboy is Maher's second successive Grand National winner and he has also trained the winner of two Grand Annual Steeplechases in his home town of Warrnambool.
"But this horse is definitely the best of them all," he said.
Maher's hope to take Bashboy to England is supported by winning rider Steve Pateman, who said the plan was far from ambitious.
"He's a seriously good horse and he's going to be more seasoned and stronger next year," Pateman said.
"It would be my dream to ride an Australian horse at one of those big meetings over there."
Also on Sunday
Sandown: JJ Houlahan Hurdle 3,400m (2m1f)
The 10-1 winner Zaman is co-trained by Fran Houlahan, a jumps racing stalwart and the daughter of a legend of the sport, Jim Houlahan, the man the race commemorates.
"It means a lot, that's for sure," Houlahan said. "We set him for the 'Jim' a few months ago because we didn't think he was up to a Grand National. Dad would have loved to see this. He would have loved the price too."