A resurgent Bjorn Baker may have found another horse to reinforce his battalion of Melbourne raiders after Rock Forthe Ladies won at Randwick.
The trainer endured a tough run after a virus hit his Warwick Farm stables in winter and forced Group One winner Music Magnate out of the spring.
But one week after Egyptian Symbol won the Group Three Nivison at Randwick, booking her ticket to Flemington in the process, Rock Forthe Ladies won Saturday’s Filante Handicap (1400m) at the same track.
While Egyptian Symbol is set to race in the Group Three Hong Kong Jockey Club Plate on Melbourne Cup Day, Baker is keen to take Rock Forthe Ladies to Flemington on Oaks Day for the Subzero Challenge race for greys.
“He’s going to get a few ratings points for that win unfortunately but we’ll probably still have a good look at that race depending on how he pulls up,” Baker said.
Rock Forthe Ladies won a Subzero Challenge race at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day last year when trained by Peter Moody.
One year on, he claimed $2.60 favourite Religify at the 150m, but the Chris Waller-trained gelding refused to go down without a fight.
Rock Forthe Ladies ($3.40) ground down his rival to win by a head with Destiny’s Kiss ($26) 3-1/2 lengths away third.
A jubilant group of owners chanted “Rocky! Rocky!” as the horse and jockey Tim Clark returned to the winner’s stall.
“He ran really well first-up and he got a good weight drop coming here today,” Clark said.
“The two best horses drew away and fought it out.”
Stablemate Mr Gustavo finished fourth in his first start for Baker since being transferred from his father Murray in New Zealand.
“He’ll improve a ton from that. He didn’t look too flash today, he’s still got a bit of a woolly coat,” Baker said.
He said Mr Gustavo would head to the Goulburn Cup on November 20.
“The timing will work out very well,” Baker said.
Tim Clark’s win on Rock Forthe Ladies gave him a running double after winning on Godolphin’s Reincarnate in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1200m).
Jason Collett also rode a race-to-race double with Invincibella and Fifteen Sunflowers winning the first two races.