Don’t ‘Dream’ It’s Over

There is a bit of fate when it comes Mary Jane Bas­son’s rac­ing dream – the bou­tique breeder has half a dozen brood­mares and a few race­horses

Ladies in Racing - - Contents - Story and Im­ages cour­tesy Illawarra Turf Club

New South Wales South­ern High­lands breeder Mary Jane Bas­son might have found her cham­pion in Dark Dream when he was suc­cess­ful in win­ning the Group 1 Queens­land Derby on June 18th from Heav­enly Thought and Young­ster. Mary Jane said, “I prob­a­bly won’t have an­other Group 1 horse like him and to win the Derby was be­yond my wildest dreams. “The breed­ing thing is a pas­sion for me and fun, but it is a whole lot more fun when you have a Dark Dream.” Kem­bla Grange- based trainer Kerry Parker pre­pares the All Amer­i­can from Buchanan now four-year-old geld­ing, which had pre­vi­ously won the Rough Habit Plate in a can­ter and had been the sub­ject of mil­lion­dol­lar of­fers from Hong Kong. But like a lot of Mary Jane’s rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, it had come down to fate that she joined the Parker sta­ble. As she puts it, he is there be­cause she had pre­vi­ously had a slow one. “I had a horse with a city trainer and he told me I need to find an­other home for it be­cause he was hope­less,” she ex­plained. “He sug­gested Kerry and it went from there and af­ter he was able to get that one up and run­ning. He has been my trainer since. And the other bloke has never seen an­other horse again.” Kerry was quick to add, “I had never re­ceived an­other horse from that trainer. But that’s al­right be­cause May Jane has given me per­haps the best horse I have had.” It has worked well for Mary Jane and Kerry. She likes be­ing with a smaller trainer be­cause Kerry looks af­ter the horses so well and they all get a bit of spe­cial treat­ment,” she said.

“When you look at his record he has had a cou­ple of Mel­bourne Cup run­ners and placeget­ters in Syd­ney Cups and Oaks, so he knows what he is do­ing. “There are not many train­ers like him with that sort of record, which says ‘give me a chance with the right horse and I will get the job done’. “And they achieved their Group 1 suc­cess to­gether with Dark Dream.” Mary Jane uses the Dream ti­tle on her horses and while Dark Dream has taken her to the top of rac­ing, Red Dream has struck with wins at Nowra and Warwick Farm in May. She said, “He was my first born. You be­come con­nected to them and although it took a while to see him win in town, it was a big thrill. “He is an­other funny story be­cause Arthur Mitchell was go­ing to let me go to I Am In­vin­ci­ble for $7,700 and my trainer at the time said he wouldn’t make it and to go to Dream­scape. “You look back on it and think why did I do that? But we have a fairly handy stayer in Red Dream and he could win an­other race in the city.” Red Dream and Dark Dream both race in the Kerry Parker sta­ble colours af­ter a mis­take that hap­pened early in the part­ner­ship. Mary Jane said, “I have my own colours, but Kerry put his colours on one day and it won, so we de­cided that was lucky. He now gets to put his colours on the boys and the fil­lies race in my colours. I wish Dark Dream was in my colours, but we are not chang­ing some­thing that works.”

Dark Dream de­liv­ered a wind­fall for Mary Jane and Kerry in more than one way. Both were de­ter­mined to win the Queens­land Derby be­fore con­sid­er­ing mas­sive of­fers. “He is a bit of project and comes from a Lion Hunter mare that cost me just $800 and she went to All Amer­i­can be­cause I loved him as a horse,” Mary Jane said.

“When Kerry told me that he thought he might be pretty good I was ex­cited, but not as ex­cited as you get once the dream comes true.” The day Mary Jane bought Buchanan Girl, she was not even look­ing to buy a horse. She re­called, “I was sit­ting there hav­ing a cof­fee and this Lion Hunter mare came through the sale and was go­ing to get knocked down to the knack­ery. “A Lion Hunter mare, there aren’t that many of them around, and they are great brood­mares. I put up my hand and took her home, re­ally to save her. “I de­cided to send her to All Amer­i­can, which was a horse that I had a good win on when he beat So You Think in the Emi­rates Stakes and I liked him as a Stal­lion. That is how we ended up with Dark Dream. She is go­ing back to All Amer­i­can un­til we breed a filly, be­cause I want to keep the fam­ily and I don’t have a filly yet.” Kerry has been pa­tience with Dark Dream, win­ning a Moruya Maiden on de­but, be­fore he pro­gressed to a 1900m to fin­ish his prepa­ra­tion. He had not fin­ished fur­ther back than sec­ond in his first eight starts and had run into Sava­cool, Cal­i­for­nia Turbo and Viller­mont at three of his de­feats, all in photo fin­ishes. Kerry knew he had a spe­cial stayer and tar­geted the Bris­bane car­ni­val. He said, “It was the way it worked be­cause he didn’t have his first start un­til Novem­ber, so it would have been a rush to get him to the Syd­ney car­ni­val. “There is plenty of time with a horse like him and we haven’t seen the best of him yet. “He has stood out to me as a horse that would run a trip, so I trained him like that and let him de­velop and it has worked pretty well so far.”

Dark Dream (Jay Ford) goes down in a photo fin­ish to Cal­i­for­nia Turbo in the South Pa­cific Clas­sic at Royal Rand­wick

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