Day At The Track

Red-letter night for Eric Basham

02:00 PM 12 Feb 2021 NZDT
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Eric and Rosemary Basham with She Aint Fakin (a sister to Blacks A Fake) and her Always B Miki colt foal, Harness racing
Eric and Rosemary Basham with She Aint Fakin (a sister to Blacks A Fake) and her Always B Miki colt foal

January 30, 2021 was a red-letter night for well known Young harness racing identity Eric Basham.

Because the octogenarian landed a winning double at Menangle with the bonny mare Bettor Enforce, whom he part-owns, and brilliant three-year-old He Aint Fakin, a gelding he bred and sold as a yearling.

Bettor Enforce led most of the way against her own sex in 1:51.4, while He Aint Fakin downed a strong field in the Group 2 $50,000 Simpson Memorial in a career-best 1:51.3.

Bettor Enforce, the newly crowned Australian Pacing Mare of the Year, is unquestionably the apple of Eric’s eye, though. The New Zealand-bred mare has won 17 races and more than $300,000 in stakes since Eric bought a half share with great mate, Tony Peacock, and Richard Worner 18 months ago.

“She ran the fastest first half (52.7 seconds) ever recorded at Menangle last November,” Eric said.

Bettor Enforce, who holds a mile mark of 1:48.9 winning the Group 3 Ladyship Pace, is the second fastest Australasian bred pacing mare ever behind Adore Me (1:47.7).

The name Basham and quality standardbreds go hand-in-glove.

“I started off buying yearlings but they became too dear, so I started breeding my own,” Eric, who has been involved in horses most of his life, said.

“You can’t beat the thrill of winning a race with a horse you’ve owned or bred. It’s the reason I’m still in the sport.”

One of the first horses bred by the former hotelier was the Golden Adios gelding Carinya Jack, a top flight juvenile in the Riverina in the early 1970’s.

“He beat Paleface Adios twice, once at Young and the other at Harold Park,” Eric recalled.

However, Frosty Imp, a Johnny’s Imp gelding trained and driven by the late Kevin Robinson, was the best pacer ever owned by Eric Basham. He won a string of cup and classic races in the late 1970’s and early ‘80’s including the Victoria Winfield Gold Cup, Harold Park Cup, NSW Spring Cup and the Bankstown Cup.

“I raced him throughout his career and sold him to America in 1982,” Eric stated.

Mach Beauty, a Mach Three gelding, was another outstanding performer bred by Eric and his wife, Rosemary. He totted up 25 successes including the NSW Breeders Challenge, Golden Guitar and a heat of the 2014 Inter Dominion Championship and $509,000 in stakes.

The couple also enjoyed plenty of success breeding from the dam of the four-time ID champion Blacks A Fake in the Vanston Hanover mare, Colada Hanover. They bred seven winners out of her with Dymondee, the winner of 14 races and $110,294, perhaps the best.

The Group 2 Harold Park winner Flamin Yomax ($123,609), Haka Shannon ($124,624), Tromso, Mondo Sports, Uroc Skinny Jeans, Terris Falcon, Ruth Shannon and Sign Of Perfecshon are among other winners bred by Basham.

Eric and Rosemary are currently breeding from 22 mares at their 50 acre sheep, cattle and wheat property, ‘The Poplars’.

Long-time supporters of the yearling sales, the Basham’s have nominated three well-bred youngsters for the 2021 Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction on April 10 and 11.

The first of the trio is a colt by exciting first crop sire Downbytheseaside from the Live Or Die mare Illawong Joyful (1:57.2), who is listed as Lot 26. He will be followed by a Pet Rock colt from the 1:57 mare Love The Red (Lot 52) and the A Rocknroll Dance-Abercrombie Jess colt (Lot 194).

And, judging by the Basham’s record of success, a punt on any of their draft could be worth it!


By Peter Wharton

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