IN Racing
Classic ambitions Staphanos filly
David and Emma-Lee Browne have high hopes for talented stayer Basilinna.
NZ Racing Desk | September 22, 2023
Basilinna winning at Cranbourne under Blake Shinn. (Morgan Hancock)

Three-year-old filly Basilinna has stamped herself as a stayer of the future following a strong maiden victory over 1600m at Cranbourne on Thursday.

Prepared by Pakenham trainers Emma-Lee and David Browne, the imposing daughter of Staphanos caught the eye on debut when strong through the line over 1400m at Sale behind talented galloper Wolfy.

With Blake Shinn taking the mount on Thursday, Basilinna was sent out a $1.90 favourite, and the champion jockey rode her like the best horse in the race, creeping into the race three-deep throughout before outclassing her older rivals to score by just over two lengths.

The husband and wife trainers also bred the filly, who is out of Group Three placed staying mare So Royal, whom David purchased as an older broodmare for just $500 on in their native New Zealand.

“She is a lovely filly,” Emma-Lee Browne said.

“There is a bit of a story behind this one, David bought the mare for me after I’d lost Monarch Chimes (top-class jumper by Shinko King).

“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.

“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 Novara Park stallion Staphanos, a son of Deep Impact who broke his maiden at two and won three races up to Group Three level as a three-year-old, then was a multiple Group One placegetter in Japan and Hong Kong at the ages of four, five and six.

“I really like the Deep Impact blood of Staphanos and he is a lovely type and I also thought the mix of a Shinko King mare and a Japanese stallion was a nice combination,” Browne said.

“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.

“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.

“Blake seems positive that we can step up in distance and now we have got a win we have got a few options.

“We are hoping to sneak into one of those three-year-old staying 2000m races and if she puts her hand up we will have a crack at the VRC Oaks (Gr.1, 2500m).”

Shinn took a lot of confidence into Thursday’s contest, having ridden the Nick Ryan-trained Wolfy when he just got the better of Basilinna at Sale and as a result the jockey made a concerted effort to ride the filly at 55kgs.

“Emma-Lee and David are great supporters of mine and it is just nice. She is obviously a filly that possesses good staying ability and she did it the tough way today and just proved too strong,” Shinn said.

“She did everything I asked of her today. Obviously we were a little bit wide but she is a staying filly and being a little bit deep down this mile back-straight at Cranbourne is not too big a disadvantage and I was happy to sit there and travel comfortably.”

Basilinna is by emerging sire Staphanos, who sired last season’s Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce (1400m) winning juvenile Pignan. The stallion has a number of promising gallopers from his eldest crop which have just turned three, including Medatsu, Don Stefano and Lady Sass.

David and Emma-Lee Browne Cranbourne Staphanos Shinko King monarch chimes basilinna