Racing: Classy recruit for in form Baker stable

Bjorn Baker. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Bjorn Baker. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Bjorn Baker's in-form Warwick Farm stable will be further bolstered with the arrival of a lightly-raced 2-year-old who is set to follow a proven path to the Victoria Derby.

Baker said his trainer father Murray would send Ellerslie maiden winner Dundeel across the Tasman to replicate a Derby campaign that brought success with the ill-fated Lion Tamer in 2010.

Lion Tamer started his run to the Derby with a first-up Australian win in the Ming Dynasty Quality and Dundeel is heading the same way.

"He missed a trial in New Zealand and he could have one trial here before running in the Ming Dynasty," Baker said.

Lion Tamer came from near last to beat Praecido in the listed Ming Dynasty over 1400m en-route to beating the same horse in the Victoria Derby at Flemington.

His career ended prematurely when he was injured in last year's Cox Plate and had to be put down.

"Dad's got a pretty good opinion of Dundeel and, unfortunately for me, the horse will be staying in his name," Baker said.

Dundeel made his only raceday appearance in a 1200m 2-year-old maiden at Ellerslie in April before he was turned out for a spell.

"He is by High Chaparral out of a Zabeel mare so we've got high hopes for him as a stayer," Baker said.

The $100,000 Ming Dynasty Quality carries listed status and will be run at Warwick Farm on September 8.

Baker has 20 horses in work at the southwestern Sydney racetrack but he is keen to expand on the back of his end-of-season success which has been almost 12 months in the making.

"I'm definitely on the lookout for more horses to build on this," he said.

The wisdom of his decision to open an Australian stable was put into a financial perspective when Mr Tipsy and Havana Rey continued the former Cambridge trainer's end-of-season streak at Warwick Farm on Saturday.

Mr Tipsy, backing up after winning at Rosehill last week, took an inside run to beat Sour Mash in the Markey Saddlery Handicap (2200m) to give the 34-year-old Baker his first double as a trainer.

"He's a very special horse for the family and it's just great he was part of my first double," Baker said.

"I was just as confident about him today as I was last week because he was just as good."

Apprentice Lauri Wray drove Mr Tipsy ($12) along the fence and he finished too well for Sour Mash to win by a long neck.

Despite the significance of Mr Tipsy's win, Havana Rey's all-the-way victory under jockey Glyn Schofield in the Pluck @ Vinery Handicap (1600m) confirmed Baker's decision to relocate and set up base in Sydney last year is turning out to be the right one.

"With the BOBS bonus this is probably the equivalent to winning a $150,000 race back home in New Zealand," Baker said.

"It's taken time to get established but any doubts about moving over aren't there now with stakes like this.

"I've got to pinch myself sometimes."

Havana Rey was a first-up Warwick Farm winner but dropped back in distance from an unplaced 1900m run at Rosehill last month.

The 3-year-old was allowed to set an even tempo and he kicked strongly for Schofield to beat Flying Zero ($5.50) by 2 lengths with Disciple ($18) another 1 lengths away third.

Baker said Havana Rey came from a modest background to become a flag bearer for his Warwick Farm stable.

"I've got a lot to thank Havana Rey for," Baker said. "He came from a pre-trainer in Orange and I didn't know a lot about him.

"He was my first Saturday winner here and he's won three city races so I owe him a lot."

Havana Rey carried $6 to $5.50 support and the result was never in doubt as Schofield dictated his own speed.

He shook off the second favourite Hendricus easily, before clearing out to leave the Chris Waller-trained stablemates Flying Zero and Disciple to fight out the placings ahead of the favourite Sindarin ($3.70).


- NZ Herald

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