Champion jumper Bashboy retired

Bashboy a 12 year old gelding who ran steeple trial number 5 over 2800 metres ridden by Steve Pateman and trained by Ciaron Maher at Cranbourne Training Complex. Picture: Derrick den Hollander

Daryl TimmsHerald Sun

CHAMPION jumper Bashboy has been retired.

The gelding’s owners believed there was no point prolonging the gelding’s career if he could not race as a 13-year-old and aim for an unprecedented fourth Grand National Steeplechase.

Without the lure of the 4500m race, managing owner Ian McDonald said there was more to risk than to achieve.

The 12-year-old was the centre of a controversy this week when Racing Victoria did a backflip and said it would not support an Racing Australia rule amendment to allow him to race-on as a 13-year-old.

Under new rules, it’s mandatory for horses to be retired from racing once they turn 13-years-old on August 1.

But Bashboy’s owners wanted an exemption so he could compete in the Crisp Steeplechase on August 7 and then be retired after the Grand National on August 21. A change of programming has put the two feature races into the new racing season.

The Ciaron Maher trained Bashboy has won the most prizemoney _ more than $1 million _ of any horse from jumps races in Australia and bows out after lumping 74.5kg to win his last jumps race, the Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) with Irish jockey Ruby Walsh last year.

The champion kicked off what was to be his final campaign with a run on the flat over 1600m at Warrnambool on March 31.

Bashboy’s managing owner Ian McDonald, who was bitterly disappointed with RV’s decision not to support a rule amendment, said the gelding would retire as the reigning champion Australian jumper.

“Yes, we were influenced by the rule issue but it comes down to what is in the best interests of the horse,” McDonald said.

“We wanted to send him out on the high and all that he has achieved.”

McDonald said without being able compete in those final two races was the deciding factor to retire him.

“He has shown more ability this time in than he has in previous years to be really competitive and we were not fearful of anything and there were no health issues. We just want to now recognise what he has done in Australia and he is the best of what any horse has done over the jumps in the last 50-plus years,” McDonald said.

“To win three Grand Nationals and to come second in a fourth from the only four he has contested and to win four Crisps and I think he has won three Thackeray’s, you have got to say to yourself what is left to achieve. There is more to risk than achieve.”

McDonald not being able to compete in the Crisp and National had virtually taken the gloss of “putting him” back in the ring.”

He said Bashboy would pursue an equestrian career and already has been invited to be paraded at next month’s Warrnambool carnival as a celebration of his retirement

RV’s board said this had considered a proposed amendment be put to Racing Australia’s next meeting that would allow jumpers that turn 13 years of age in a calendar year to be exempted from retirement until the end of that year’s jumps season on September 30.

“In the interest of horse and participants welfare, the board determined that an amendment to the current rules would present a greater safety risk to the horse, their rider and other participants and, as such, will not seek to make an amendment,” RV said in a statement.

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