Racing: Turn Me Loose romps home in Futurity

By Mike Dillon

Oppie Bosson after riding Turn Me Loose to win Race 6, Futurity Stakes.
Oppie Bosson after riding Turn Me Loose to win Race 6, Futurity Stakes.

When you've won 18 Australian group one races, it's against the odds to get too excited.

But Murray Baker is beside himself with the brilliant win of Turn Me Loose in Saturday's A$500,000 Futurity Stakes in Melbourne.

"What a horse this is," enthused Baker as he prepared to fly back to New Zealand yesterday morning.

Turn Me Loose certainly justified his favouritism in one of Australia's iconic weight-for-age events by overcoming an awkward barrier draw and outpowering a talented field of 1600m horses.

"He's got a great Australian record," said Baker. "In six starts over here he's won two group ones, a group two, a Listed Stakes race, second in a Listed and fourth in a group one.

"The super impressive part of Turn Me Loose's performance on Saturday was he was extremely tough in the closing stages. And he actually did it quite easily," said Baker.

Turn Me Loose will be transported to Sydney on Wednesday where he will take on the A$1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) in three weeks.

Remarkably, it will be his first race start on a right-handed track.

"Funny isn't it, that he hasn't raced right-handed," says Baker. "It hasn't been by design, it's just the way it's worked out. He's trialled right-handed four times with no problems so I'm not worried about it."

Turn Me Loose will be aimed at the A$3 million Doncaster at Randwick on April 2 with the possibility of stepping up to the 2000m A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes a week later.

Instead of Caulfield, Baker was in Sydney to watch last season's Horse of the Year Mongolian Khan resume racing in the A$600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick. Mongolian Khan was unplaced, but that did not surprise his co-trainer.

"They broke a 30-something-year-old track record in the race - they just went mad. The 1600m was always going to be too short for him, but he was clearly outpaced the way they ran the race ... He'll run in the Ranvet over 2000m next."

Meanwhile, Ruakaka trainer Donna Logan won't be rushed into making a decision on the immediate future of Volkstok'n'barrell.

For the moment, Logan is happy to bask in the glory of the 4-year-old's impressive return to top form in Saturday's group one Haunui Farm WFA Classic at Otaki.

The group one Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes looms as a possible option.

- NZ Herald

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