Sunday, 29 July 2012
The choices are hemispheres apart for trainer Ciaron Maher following Bashboy's stunning win in Sunday's Grand National Steeplechase at Sandown.
But they are equally attractive.
Bashboy ($1.55 fav) won Australia's premier steeplechase and his fifth jumps race from only six starts over obstacles by seven lengths, confirming Maher's opinion that he is world class.
"I've always liked the idea of taking a horse to England, 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 ($26 to $12) who nosed out Seeking The Silver ($6.50) 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."
The Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) further confirmed Pateman's place as Australia's pre-eminent jumps jockey, but he deflected all praise.
"I hope most of the emphasis goes on the training," he said.
"He had two years off with a tendon injury and to get him back to this sort of form is a fantastic training effort."
Bashboy's win followed the victory of Zaman in the JJ Houlahan Hurdle(3400m), a win that came at the expense of Australia's most promising young hurdler, Brungle Cry.
Zaman is co-trained by Fran Houlahan, the daughter of jumps racing legend Jim Houlahan, after whom the race is named.
It means a lot, that's for sure," Houlahan said.
"Dad would have loved to see this - he would have loved the price too."
Zaman started at $11 and scored by three lengths from Dubhdara ($7) with a similar margin to Kirribilli Gold ($5) in third place.
Brungle Cry, the only other runner, slipped at the second last hurdle and trailed home last of the four starters.
Check out our FREE full form
, ratings for meetings in nine countries each and every day.