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
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