Racing: Baker brings classy miler to Melbourne

La Luna Rossa could be an each-way hope for the 1000 Guineas at Caulfield on Saturday. Photo / Race Images
La Luna Rossa could be an each-way hope for the 1000 Guineas at Caulfield on Saturday. Photo / Race Images

Star sprinter-miler Turn Me Loose is likely to resume in Melbourne next weekend.

The Cambridge galloper has been nominated for the A$400,000 group two weight-for-age Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Turn Me Loose was flown to Melbourne on Sunday. "There's a decent chance he will run in the Schillaci," co-trainer Murray Baker said.

Baker, who trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman, has won 18 group one races in Australia and will be reaching for the stars again at Caulfield.

The stable will also get a crack at a group one Guineas double, with Saracino and La Luna Rossa respective form runners for the Caulfield Guineas and Thousand Guineas.

Turn Me Loose earned more $1.24 million in Melbourne last season, with four wins, a second and a fourth from six attempts.

He recorded group one wins in the Emirates Stakes (1600m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m) and also won the group two Crystal Mile.

He was voted New Zealand's leading sprinter and middle-distance horse for the season and just one vote away from being Horse of the Year.

He failed in two starts in Sydney last autumn but had a bone chip removed from a knee following his Sydney runs, which delayed his return this spring.

The Iffraaj entire won a 1000m trial at Avondale on September 20 and galloped between races at Te Rapa last Friday.

"He seems to be back to his old self and is a very happy horse at the moment," Baker said. "He's a pretty good horse. He's like a big machine when he gets going and right up to the very best.

"He's a 5-year-old entire but has a lovely temperament. You could put a little kid in the box with him."

Baker has not finalised Turn Me Loose's spring programme but the horse has been nominated for the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 31 and the Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 5. "He's probably best suited now by 1400m to 1600m weight-for-age races but there's not much around at this carnival, at least at group one level," Baker said.

Saracino is at $10 and on the fourth line of betting for the Caulfield Guineas (1600m). The Foxbridge Plate winner won the Danehill Stakes (1200m) at his Australian debut and was late clear when fifth, behind Sacred Elixir, in the Guineas Prelude (1400m).

"He was only a length from them last start and didn't get much of a go," Baker said. "He would have gone very close with the right run and we think he will run out the mile OK."

Impending was a $4.40 favourite for the Caulfield Guineas yesterday, with Sacred Elixir and Divine Prophet at $5.50.

La Luna Rossa, who raced as Luna Rossa in New Zealand, was a $9 third favourite for the Thousand Guineas (1600m).

She races in the same ownership as Livamol Classic runner-up Humidor and was having just her second start this term when second in the Tranquil Star Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield at her last start. "We hadn't done a lot with her going into her last start and are certain she has improved with the race," Baker said.

Foxplay, a dual group two winner in Sydney last month, is a $2.50 favourite for the Thousand Guineas.

Baker had two 3-year-old runners at Flemington last Sunday. Wanganui Guineas winner Highlad wilted late to finish third over 1800m, while Eleonora was blocked for a run when unplaced in the Manifold Stakes (1600m).

"Eleonora is still trying to get out," Baker said. "She got no run at all till she was pulled out across heels at the end and hit the line well.

"Highlad will be a big improver. He hadn't run for a month, drew the outside and had to do a bit of work early into a strong wind."

Highlad, who is heading to the Victorian Derby, will race next in the A$500,000 Caulfield Classic (2000m) on October 15 and Eleonora is scheduled to tackle the A$150,000 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) on the same day.

- NZ Racing Desk

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