CHAMPION jumper Bashboy was crowned the 2013 Australian Jumping Horse of the Year winner at a lavish racing awards function in Melbourne last night.
Bashboy, trained by Ciaron Maher, won the award last year and joins Black And Bent (2010-11) and Some Are Bent (2007-08) as the only back-to-back winners in recent history.
The 10-year-old polled 133 votes to defeat Black And Bent (68 votes), with Grand Annual Steeplechase winner Banna Strand (26 votes) third.
Victorian and South Australian racing media and administrators voted in the award.
Maher, who has stables at Winslow and Caulfield said he was humbled by the win.
“He’s just a champion jumper,” Maher told The Standard.
“I’ve said it before, I’ve been lucky to have trained some very good jumpers but Bashboy is the best — by a long way. ‘He’s just a brilliant jumper.
“He handles wet tracks, stays all day and can carry big weights.
‘‘He’s a very easy horse to train as he does it all himself. He’s a mighty horse.”
The former jumps jockey said Bashboy’s connections had decided not to head overseas with the horse.
“I’ve had long discussions with the owners of Bashboy regarding taking him overseas, but they are comfortable for him to run in jumps races here,” Maher said.
“I’m sure he would have been competitive in jumps races overseas, but the owners have made their decision.
“Bashboy is having a well-deserved break now. But we’ll bring him back for set-weight and penalty steeplechase races like the Great Southern, Mosstrooper and Crisp, before having another crack at the Grand National Steeplechase next year.”
Bashboy’s wins in the Mosstrooper, Thackeray, Crisp and Grand National steeplechases this year were highlights for Maher.
But he rated a third placing in the Australian Steeplechase carrying 74.5 kilograms as a magnificent performance.
“His run in the Australian Steeple-chase was a sensational effort,’’ the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase-winning trainer said.
“I think he carried 10kg more than any other runner and ran third.
“I must also acknowledge the deeds of Steven Pateman. He’s done a great job in riding the horse during the 2013 season.”
Bashboy, the winner of nine of 11 jumps starts, has earned nearly $700,000 for connections.
Unbeaten champion mare Black Caviar won the Australian Racehorse of the Year Award for a third time.
She was also honoured as the champion sprinter for a third year.
Black Caviar and fellow champion mare, dual Cox Plate winner Sunline, are the only horses to be crowned Australian Racehorse of the Year on three occasions. Sunline achieved the feat in 2000-2002.
The awards function, which included the official 2013 Spring Carnival launch, was also one to remember for master trainer Bart Cummings, whose 60 years as a trainer was celebrated with a moving presentation.
The Hall of Fame legend, who recently entered into a training partnership with grandson James, was recognised with the naming of the champion group 1 trainer title in his honour.