Day At The Track

“Basil” a blessing for Braun

10:10 PM 08 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Dean Braun, harness racing
Dean Braun

Lara harness racing trainer Dean Braun has had the uncanny knack over the years of consistently producing a more-than-handy pacer.

And his latest “find” could easily be up there with his best, judging by an eye-catching performance on debut at Yarra Valley on Wednesday afternoon.

Holy Basil (Changeover-Artistic Lass NZ (Artiscape USA) gave a sensational display to take out the first heat of the Thank You Dallas Sutton 3yo Pace and will almost certainly - and deservedly - start a warm favorite in next Friday’s $10,000 final at Melton.

The three-year-old gelding really couldn’t have been much more impressive, stopping the clock at 1.54-2, just a whisker outside the track record.

To watch the video replay click here.

“He’s right up there with the best I’ve had and while he has phenomenal speed, he’s also just so sensible,” an elated Braun said.

“I must say that I’d had my eye on him for a while and we didn’t hesitate when the chance to buy him from New Zealand came along a few months ago,” he said.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is raced by Braun’s partner Pauline McColgan and longtime friend and stable client, Todd Struthers, of Tasmania and the pacer’s win was the second leg of a winning double for Braun at Yarra Valley.  He won earlier with War Dan (Bettors Delight-Kalypso (Safely Kept USA).

Braun said Holy Basil caught his eye when he was watching a workout at Ashburton, NZ, and saw him ping off a last quarter of 25.5 secs.

“He was obviously unraced then, but his performance was electric,” Braun said.

“At this stage, I wouldn’t say that he is as quick as Chilli Palmer (who Braun trained to 12 wins, 11 placings and a brilliant 1.51-5 in Feb. 2014, Melton) but the indications are that he will be a special horse.

“We were rapt with the way he went about his business at Yarra Valley. He’s still only a baby and it was great the way he handled it all, including working through the field from the back row in that blistering 27sec first quarter.

“Then later when driver Greg Sugars found the front, there was a fair bit of pressure at one stage, so it was all pretty awesome.”

Braun said he planned to give Holy Basil a short let-up after next week’s Melton run.

Holy Basil

“To be honest he’s probably not going quite as quick as he was a month ago, so a bit of a break will do him the world of good,” he said.

“Then we might aim him for the Queensland Derby, but we’ll see how he comes back and what races are around.”

Braun has seven in work and was quick to give his helpers a pat on the back for their valuable assistance.

“Amanda Grieve is back with us, while Carson Miller helps out whenever he gets time off work, and my partner Pauline completes the team,” he said.

In recent times, some well-credentialed speedsters have flown the flag for the Braun stable, in Carlas Pixel, Chilli Palmer, Magical Telf, Chancellor Cullen, Mustang Mach and Duplicated, to name a few.

And it won’t be all that long before Holy Basil is spoken in the same breath!

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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