WINSLOW trainer Ciaron Maher added another feature jumps race to his expanding list of achievements when Bashboy won an action-packed Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown yesterday.
Bashboy was having only his second steeplechase start when he scored a 17-length win over Titch in the $100,000 race.
The two horses were the only runners in the eight horse field that finished in the 3900-metre race.
Maher said Bashboy could be the best jumper he has had in his seven-year training career.
“Bashboy is a very good jumper,” the 31-year-old trainer said
“I rate him very highly.
“He may prove to be the best jumper that I’ve trained but we’ll wait and see what he does in the future.
“Bashboy has a lot more improvement in him.
“He made a couple of mistakes in the run.
“He got too close to one of the fences but he will be improved by that run. He’s a relatively new jumper.”
Maher gave credit to Bashboy’s part-owner Ian Macdonald for all the early rehabilitation work he put into the horse as he recovered from an off-fore front leg tendon injury.
“When I got the horse he was in pretty good shape because of all the work that Ian had organised for Bashboy,” he said.
“When we got him we did a lot of beach work with him at Warrnambool and Port Fairy.
“Tendon injuries don’t really worry me.
“You’ve just got to give the horse time to recover from the injury.
“Horses with tendon injuries never lose their ability and this horse has always shown ability as a jumper.”
Maher’s other runner in the Crisp Steeplechase, Regal Heir, fell at the second last fence but the former jumps jockey said it was only a minor fall.
“Regal Heir just tripped when he landed,” he said.
“He put in a short one and his back legs kicked out.
“It was just bad luck that he came down.
“I thought he had run well until he came down at the second last.”
Champion jumps jockey Steven Pateman acknowledged the training skills of Maher after the race.
He described the victory as a marvellous training display by Maher.
“He’s a top trainer,” he said.
“The horse had two years off before Ciaron got him going.
“Bashboy has always shown plenty of ability but for Ciaron to have him ready to win his two steeplechase races this time in work is an amazing feat.
“Bashboy is an exciting jumper.
“He loves wet ground.
“The horse felt really good.
“There’s a bit more improvement in him.”
Maher will now try to win his second Grand National Steeplechase as he hopes to run Bashboy and Regal Heir in the $250,000 race which will be run at Sandown on Sunday, July 29.
He won last year’s Grand National with Man Of Class.
Al Karam, Roodyvoo, Tobouggie Nights and Tarawerra failed to finish in the Crisp, while Half Moon Rising and Regal Heir had minor falls.