In a compelling display of staying prowess, three-year-old filly Basilinna solidified her status as a promising future stayer with a resounding maiden victory over 1600m at Cranbourne, Victoria on Thursday.
Trained by the husband and wife team of Emma-Lee and David Browne from Pakenham, Basilinna, a daughter of Staphanos, had previously turned heads in her debut run, showing her strength over 1400m at Sale behind the talented galloper Wolfy.
Jockey Blake Shinn guided Basilinna to her latest triumph, and the filly entered the race as the firm favourite at -111.11.
Shinn rode her with the confidence befitting the best horse in the race, positioning her three-deep throughout the contest before ultimately outclassing her more experienced rivals to win by just over two lengths.
What makes Basilinna's victory even more special is the backstory. Emma-Lee and David Browne not only trained her but also bred the filly. She is the offspring of the Group Three-placed staying mare, So Royal, which David acquired as an older broodmare for a mere $500.
Emma-Lee Browne shared the unique tale behind Basilinna's origin, recalling how David decided to purchase the broodmare after Emma-Lee had suffered the loss of Monarch Chimes, a top-class jumper by Shinko King.
She explained, “I was very upset after the loss of Monarch Chimes. They weren't making any more by the sire, and David had a few drinks and duly announced he had just bought me a broodmare by Shinko King.”
Browne continued, “I initially said ‘that's amazing,' but when we woke up the next day I said ‘What are we going to do with a broodmare?'”
Enter Staphanos, a stallion from Novara Park with Deep Impact lineage, who broke his maiden at two and achieved three victories at Group Three level as a three-year-old. Staphanos went on to become a multiple Group One placegetter in Japan and Hong Kong in his subsequent years.
“I really like the Deep Impact blood of Staphanos, and he is a lovely type,” Browne commented.
“We took the punt to bring the filly over here, and we have a lot of Australian owners in her, including one of the main owners of Le Zebra, so it is pretty special.”
Browne also noted Basilinna's growth and enthusiasm for racing, saying, “She was pretty green at her first start, and she has taken great improvement. She loves being a racehorse and that is what we need. She hasn't left a grain of food in her life.”
With this victory under their belt, the Browne team is eyeing the future with optimism.
“Blake seems positive that we can step up in distance, and now we have got a win we have got a few options.”
Jockey Blake Shinn approached Thursday's race with confidence, having previously ridden Wolfy, who narrowly defeated Basilinna at Sale. Shinn's understanding of the filly's capabilities led to a determined ride at 55 kilograms.
“Emma-Lee and David are great supporters of mine,” Shinn acknowledged.
“She is obviously a filly that possesses good staying ability, and she did it the tough way today and just proved too strong.”
Staphanos has been producing promising gallopers from his eldest crop, now three years old, including names like Medatsu, Don Stefano, and Lady Sass.