For today’s blog I’m handing over to Paul Davis who heads up the Syndicate who own the rest of the shares in yesterday’s winning debutant Genovese ‘Basil’ and sharing with you the race summary he sent to the other owners last night – Joe Saumarez-Smith, whose colours he runs in, David Parry, Jon & Jack Hughes, Matthew Baker and Gordon Bendall.
“It’s nearly 4 years ago since we bought Basil as a foal in Ireland and, in the intervening years, he’s given us very little cause for concern. He’s always been somewhat on the weak and immature side but showed us last season that there were glimmers of a racehorse trying to burst out during the few pieces of fast work he did before Martin took the wise decision to back off him and let him have more time in the field. He came back into training in June and though he looked stronger, for the first couple of months he still seemed relaxed and taking life a bit too easy. But when he was stepped up to faster work, suddenly the penny began to drop and he became a bit keener and started to show more promise. Martin had done plenty at home with him but today was the day to find out if he could show that promise on the track or whether the occasion would get to him. In his last piece of fast work, he was ridden by Sean Bowen and he showed Sean enough to make a very positive impression on him, and Sean stated then that he would be keen to ride him if he could.
The selected bumper at Worcester looked a good opportunity for him with 6 of the field of 8 being unraced. Basil had been available at odds of 16/1 earlier in the day, but a steady stream of money saw him start as the 13/2 5th favourite.
The general feeling with Basil was that he was fit enough to do himself justice, but he was still on the weak side despite having strengthened considerably from 12 months ago. Indeed, even Jonnie Trice-Rolph who had never seen him until Friday, when he went for a schooling session, said he was still weak but would be much stronger (and better) in 2 years’ time. Sean had the choice of probably three horses in the race but clearly Basil had made an impression on him because Basil was the one he wanted to ride. And walking into the Parade Ring beforehand he stated that he was going to follow the Brian Hughes trained horse (Glen Cannel) who he rated as the main danger.
Sure enough, Sean and Basil followed Glen Cannel in the early stages of the race, even though Basil was keen to go a stride quicker than he was being allowed to and, as a result, he did take a strong hold. Racing past the winning post first time he was travelling very easy but, even there, Sean had to take a pull on him to try to keep him settled and they passed the winning post in 5th place behind the 2nd favourite, Soldat Forte, who was also pulling hard and began to build a two length lead. This lead was slightly extended going down the back straight where Basil was still travelling easily, allowing Sean to move him smoothly into 4th position. Rounding the home turn, Lilly Pinchin on Soldat Forte maintained their three length lead, with Glen Cannel suddenly needing to be ridden more vigorously and Basil still travelling very smoothly. At this stage it looked like a first three position would be achieved, with hopes of better. Those hopes increased three furlongs out with Sean seemingly travelling the best of all, but still with quite a few lengths to make up on Soldat Forte. However, Soldat Forte wasn’t stopping and Basil then started to look a bit green and it wasn’t certain that Basil would pick up enough to close the gap. But after one reminder as he came though the wings of the last, Basil stuck his head down and battled to the line, eventually passing the leader about 75 yards out and finishing a neck in front at the line. with Glen Cannel 1 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up. Fergal O’Brien’s Bensini ran on well at the end to claim 4th place before there was a yawning gap of 11 lengths to the well fancied Peter Bowen trained runner, Dreams Of Fortune.
There were ecstatic scenes as Sean came back into to the winners’ enclosure, with his first words to Martin being that he thought he would “p**s up” until he asked for his challenge and then he began not to feel so confident. He said that he ran really green and that he could hardly get round most bends but he loved the way that he travelled and also his attitude in terms of how deep he dug when he needed to. He did say that he had experienced a hard race today and so advised against running him again too quickly, but Martin confirmed that he likes to give his bumper debutantes a good gap before they have their 2nd race. He also confirmed that he loved him when he rode him in his fast work last week but he didn’t want to say too much because they sometimes don’t always show the same on the racetrack. He repeated that he was always confident he would pick up the leader but then wondered if he might be a bit green to actually get there. However, his attitude saw him home. Martin and Sean concluded by saying that he will be a lovely horse when he fills out and strengthens up because, at the moment, “he’s still a frame”.
Speaking purely personally, it rates as the most exciting result of the year. At this stage I guess we don’t know what he beat, but it’s clear that the two immediately behind him are well thought of by connections. And certainly an impartial observer would say that his best days are ahead of him as he can only get stronger. For now the dream is certainly alive – indeed, more alive than ever.
What a fabulous day, thanks to all that have helped along the way including Gerry Hogan who was with Paul at the Sales when Genovese was bought and to Martin Jones who backed him in 2021 and had him back again after a winter’s holiday to complete his education before coming into training.
Debden Bank ran a blinder too to finish 4th and both jockey James Best and his owners were pleased with him. He’s much better over fences but there wasn’t anything suitable and so this brush hurdle race was selected and, despite it being a hot little contest, he jumped for fun and seemed to enjoy himself. He’ll return to fences next time out.
Encouragingly our form figures of our past 10 runners reads: 4221224314 – a huge thank you to the team for their continued hard work.