Bjorn Baker has firmly established himself in the Sydney training ranks but his horse of the moment has made his name in Queensland.
The unbeaten Winning Rupert set a 1200m Eagle Farm course record 1:09.42 on Saturday at his third start, all of which have been in Queensland.
The race was the first leg of a summer bonus series which carries a $500,000 bonus for the winner of three of four designated races.
The colt’s ultimate aim this campaign is the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) on January 14.
“He is a really nice horse. He’s always shown us that,” Baker said.
“He’s a fast horse. It’s exciting. It’s always nerve-racking with a horse like him first-up when you have a lot riding on him in terms of going to the Magic Millions.
“So it was good to seem him do that.”
Winning Rupert had almost six lengths to spare on Crack Me Up, a Listed winner as a juvenile.
In his two-year-old season, Winning Rupert won on debut at the Sunshine Coast before claiming the Group Two Champagne Classic at Doomben.
He has been ridden to all three wins by veteran jockey Jeff Lloyd who is enjoying a purple patch in a career that looked to be when he suffered a stroke in 2013.
The 55-year-old won last season’s Brisbane premiership and has a commanding lead over Jim Byrne this term, boosted by a seven-win haul at the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday and four winners at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Lloyd and Baker have an association going back to the 2008 Australian Derby won by Nom Du Jeu.
The horse was officially trained in Australia by Baker’s father Murray for whom he worked at the time.
In Sydney, the Gerald Ryan-trained Pipeline put himself in the frame for the Magic Millions Guineas with his win at Rosehill.
A $575,000 yearling at last year’s Magic Millions sale, Pipeline is by champion sire Redoute’s Choice out of Dances On Waves who Ryan trained to win the 2010 Villiers Stakes.No tags for this post.