Basso Caruso chasing three on the trot in Tullibigeal Cup

Catherine Masters and Dan McCarthy will set Basso Caruso for Saturday’s Tullibigeal Picnic Cup. Image: Bradley Photos.

Wangaratta trainer Dan McCarthy and amateur jockey Catherine Masters will look to continue their dream run with Basso Caruso at Tullibigeal on Saturday. 

The Deep Field gelding was purchased as a three-start maiden and has since raced 16 times for six wins and four placings, giving Masters a chance to hone in on her craft. 

The pair won their maiden at Yea Picnics in February last year before winning at Alexandra Picnics in March, Harden Picnics in October, and Bong Bong Picnics in November.

Racing at Dederang in February, Masters won the biggest race of her career, taking out the Dederang Cup on the four-year-old.

“That’s exactly what we purchased him for,” McCarthy told NSW Country and Picnic Racing

“It was our full intention to race him in these races, and plans don’t always work out, but he has been the perfect picnic horse for Catherine to learn on.

“We went to Harden and won there, and then went to Bong Bong and won there. We won a Dederang Cup and had a lot of fun along the way. Catherine’s won five on him and loves him.”

After winning five picnic races, McCarthy trekked to Berrigan on Saturday, and with Rose Hammond in the saddle, Basso Caruso won again, making it two wins on the trot. 

Masters will return to the saddle this Saturday as the pair target the $10,000 Tullibigeal Picnic Cup (1600m).

“We’ll claim again, with 2kg off,” McCarthy said. 

“It is a step up, but he’s progressive, and I still think he is improving.

“He’s done a good job to win his six races, and he now deserves a crack at these sorts of races. 

“We’ll most likely have a crack, and hopefully, it comes off. Then we’ll look at races like Leeton as part of our program.”

While only 20 starts into her career, Masters has won eight races, and McCarthy said a gifted horsewoman is turning into a very good amateur jockey. 

“She is our main trackwork rider and basically stable foreman, and riding has been something she wants to do, and it’s been good to see her tick that off the bucket list,” McCarthy said.

“She’s a naturally gifted rider, and that racecraft is coming; she is very confident on this horse and rides him beautifully, and she is striking at 40% winners to runners, which is amazing.”

Tullibigeal could be a telling result for Masters and Basso Caruso. The Victorian galloper is on ten points in the 2023/24 NSW Picnic Champion Series, and a good result could see him move inside the top 12. 

If they were to finish in the money at Tullibigeal, McCarthy said they would look to earn points to qualify for the $50,000 NSW Picnic Champion Series final at Coonamble on October 19. 

“We’d definitely be going if we get in,” McCarthy said. 

At Tullibigeal, it’s set to be a good day’s racing, with the club hosting a six-race picnic program complemented by plenty of off-track entertainment.