A virus hampered Bjorn Baker’s lead-in to spring but the trainer is hoping the stable is on the way back to the dizzying heights it reached last season.
He will have his biggest presence at a metropolitan Saturday meeting this season with five runners accepted at Randwick including two in stakes races.
The stable was riding high during the Brisbane winter carnival after Music Magnate gave Baker his first Group One win in the Doomben 10,000.
He finished fourth in last season’s NSW premiership behind Chris Waller, John O’Shea and Peter and Paul Snowden.
But a virus in the stable hampered Baker’s ability to keep producing success at the same rate.
“The stable had a little bit of a virus over the winter so I’m definitely a month behind where I’d like to be,” Baker said.
Music Magnate was ruled out for the spring after his bout with illness and unbeaten colt Winning Rupert, who won a Group Two race in Brisbane in May, is being saved for the Magic Millions Three-Year-Old Classic in January.
Egyptian Symbol is the stable’s leading light at Randwick on Saturday.
Baker believes she is a quality mare who should be hard to hold out in the Group Three Nivison over 1200m.
“I think she’s a lot stronger than she was at any previous time,” Baker said.
Egyptian Symbol has drawn barrier nine in a field of 14.
“She’s drawn a little bit awkwardly but she’s going well,” Baker said.
“The way she’s been going she should be very competitive.”
Egyptian Symbol is nominated for the $1 million Darley Classic at Flemington on November 5, but Baker’s sole focus is the Nivison.
“This is really the main aim at the moment – just trying to get a stakes win,” he said.
Egyptian Symbol is the clear $2.80 favourite from Kris Lees-trained Savoureux at $6.
Baker said a gear change could be key to Coolring returning a winner in the Listed Lightning (1100m).
“The blinkers go on and he’s very much a horse that does go better with the blinkers,” Baker said.
“His preparation last time was very good but it’s a race that has a lot of depth so he’s going to have to be on his game.”
Two-year-old Goodfella ran fifth at Randwick last Saturday, but after drawing barrier 10 of 11 Baker is unsure whether he will start.
After two consecutive provincial wins, three-year-old colt The Reverend Demon gets his chance at city grade, while Herne’s Oak will be out to turn around a first-up failure at Rosehill on September 24.