Racing: Baker pair prepare for spring features

Lion Tamer is back in training. Photo / Getty Images
Lion Tamer is back in training. Photo / Getty Images

Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer will campaign exclusively in Melbourne this spring, with the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup his goals.

Bjorn Baker, who trains the colt in partnership with father Murray, said Lion Tamer was back in work after missing the autumn because of a few minor hiccups.

"He's back and going well at the moment. He looks great and he's probably got stronger," said Baker. "He's still a fair way off resuming. We will probably be looking to get to Melbourne in mid-August and he won't race here [New Zealand], he'll just race in Australia."

Baker said they were yet to set Lion Tamer's spring programme in concrete, but indicated the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27 was a possible starting point.

"The main target is the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup," Baker said.

Stablemate Harris Tweed is also on track for a spring campaign in Melbourne after undergoing a wind operation during the autumn.

The 5-year-old has finished fifth in the past two Melbourne Cups and was runner-up to Descarado in the Caulfield Cup last year.

Harris Tweed and Lion Tamer will be the Bakers' main spring flagbearers, although filly Jeu de Cartes, a half-sister to their 2008 AJC Australian Derby winner Nom du Jeu, could also earn a trip across the Tasman.

She has won two of her five starts and finished second to Queensland Derby runner-up Shez Sinsational over 2000m at Te Rapa in April.

There is a possibility that Lion Tamer could clash with So You Think in the Cox Plate.

It is among the options being considered for the entire, but a triumphant homecoming may be thwarted by quarantine restrictions.

The son of High Chaparral expanded his European fan club with a gritty win over Prix de l'Arc Triomphe winner Workforce in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Sunday, atoning for his last-start defeat at Royal Ascot.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien nominated the Cox Plate as an option along with the Arc de Triomphe and the Breeders' Cup. But the Ballydoyle farm owned by Coolmore has been rejected as a quarantine facility by Australian authorities, making the trip problematical because of the time he would have to spend at another centre.


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