Winning Rupert has produced another record-breaking performance at Eagle Farm and claimed a $500,000 bonus to boot.
The Bjorn Baker-trained colt remains unbeaten after Saturday’s Group Three Vo Rogue Plate and his latest three wins have been part of the Queensland summer sprint crown, earning his connections the bonus.
Winning Rupert ran his second course record in two starts at Eagle Farm when he clocked 1.15.07 seconds for the 1300 metres, taking 1.68s off the previous best.
The frightening thing for his rivals was that Jeff Lloyd eased him down near the line.
Les Ross trains the runner-up River Racer, who finished three lengths behind the winner, and is wondering whether to take him on again in the Magic Millions Guineas in two weeks.
“How much for running second in the Guineas. I have River Racer in three races that day and I might give that bloke (Winning Rupert) a bit of a miss,” Ross said.
“The track was like a rock today but I suppose my filly has broken the course record and got beaten three lengths.”
All Winning Rupert’s wins have been in Queensland and his Sydney trainer has not been on course for any of them.
Stable foreman Clare Cunninghan said Baker would now face a big question for the Millions.
“Bjorn doesn’t want to jinx Winning Rupert so he doesn’t come to the race day but I think that might change on Magic Millions day,” she said.
Cunningham said Winning Rupert had done very well in Queensland and she believed he would run a strong 1400m in the Millions Guineas.
“It was what it was about today. Getting him not to go out and run a 34 second first 600 metres,” she said.
“Jeff is getting to know him better with each ride and that should be a benefit in the Millions.”
Baker watched the race from the Canterbury meeting in Sydney and admitted he was relieved.
“There was a bit of pressure and it’s a little bit of a relief,” he said.