Trainer Bjorn Baker has repeated his breakthrough season from last year and could pass the 50-win barrier at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Baker needs three more city wins to reach the milestone number after preparing a career-best 56 city wins last season.
“Sydney racing has got more competitive if anything so I’m proud our team has been able to back up from our good season last year,’’ Baker said.
“It’s been a really good year for us, we are third in the metropolitan premiership and the stable is going pretty well.
“Last season, I was equal third with Gai (Waterhouse) and Adrian (Bott) so this year to be outright third in the premiership is another step in the right direction.’’
Baker has the quality and quantity of entries for the Rosehill meeting to snare the three wins he needs to “raise the bat” for a half-century of city wins this season.
The trainer’s best chance – according to the odds makers at least – is Canasta, the $3.70 favourite for the Lynette Lamphee Memorial Handicap (1500m).
Canasta has been placed in each of his three starts this winter, beaten less than a length each time, including his close third to Mirra Vision at Rosehill over 1400m last week.
“The big question mark is the quick back-up but he’s fit and should handle the heavy track,’’ Baker said.
“He has been going well and we want to get him out to 1800m in a couple of weeks. We’ve got Josh Parr which is a positive and he drops 4.5kg at the weights so he should run very well.’’
Baker’s promising stayer Harpo Marx ($14) is second-up in the Elite Sand And Soil Handicap (1800m).
Harpo Marx, a son of world champion sire Galileo, indicated he was in for a good preparation when he closed strongly for fifth to Oscar Zulu over 1500m two weeks ago.
“It’s hard to be confident at 1800m because he is better over further but this horse is going super,’’ Baker said.
“He’s improved from his first-up run and he should handle the heavy track.’’
Canasta is Bjorn Baker’s best chance at Rosehill. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Baker is particularly keen on the chances of O’Mudgee despite the gelding being rated at only $10 for the Quayclean Handicap (1500m).
O’Mudgee has had an extended race campaign but is going better than ever as he demonstrated last start with a dominant win at Canterbury.
“He was really good last start,’’ Baker enthused.
“I just wish he had drawn a gate (barrier 11), I’d be really bullish.
“But he is not out of it, he looks well and is in great order.’’
Bring The Ransom ($19) is also entered alongside stablemate O’Mudgee but Baker is having second thoughts about starting the mare on the heavy track.
Baker is enthusiastic about the chances of consistent mares Miss Einstein ($8.50) and Exotic Ruby ($16) in the XXXX Handicap (1400m).
Miss Einstein has been improved by two runs from a spell including her fast-finishing second to Expat at Rosehill two weeks ago, while Exotic Ruby was beaten a half-length into fourth behind Cafe Royal at Warwick Farm at her most recent start.
“I have always thought a lot of Miss Einstein and it’s good to see her come back so well,’’ Baker said.
“The 1400m will suit her and she is very consistent.
“Exotic Ruby never runs a bad race. She will be there and thereabouts again.”
Miss Einstein found some form last start. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Baker is testing Spencer’s stamina reserves in the Agency Real Estate Handicap (2400m).
Spencer has never been out to this staying distance but Baker pointed out the gelding ran a competitive race when sixth to Paths Of Glory in the Wyong Cup over 2100m earlier in the season.
“The 2400m is new ground for Spencer but he’s going pretty well and working up to a win,’’ Baker said.
“We will be really positive with him and might even try and lead.’’
Baker also indicated Miss Jay Fox ($19) will be ridden with intent from the outside barrier (14) in the Ranvet Handicap (1100m).
Miss Jay Fox has come a long way this preparation, winning her maiden at Mudgee in April, another two races since and maintaining consistent form.
She proved herself competitive at Sydney Saturday level when third behind Magic Ruler over the Rosehill 1100m course two weeks ago.
“We always felt she had the ability, she just took a while to strengthen up but she is done really well this preparation and is a legitimate Saturday class horse now,’’ Baker said.
“At this stage she is going to run and we will use the same tactics as last start, be very positive and go forward looking for the lead.’’
Originally published asBaker eyeing another career-best season
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