Daring tactics pay dividends for Irithea

Bjorn Baker.
Trainer Bjorn Baker will set Irithea for Belle Of The Turf Stakes after victory at Rosehill.

Jean Van Overmeire has pulled off a daring ride on Irithea to help the mare to victory at Rosehill and set her up for another crack at Group Three racing.

Irithea is a natural front runner but not usually by quite as far as her midrace five-length lead in Saturday’s ATC Tipping Competition Handicap (1400m).

A $7 chance, she was a target for the swoopers but had enough left to hold off Smartedge ($6) with the two well clear of Onslaught ($26).

Trainer Bjorn Baker said Irithea would now be set for the Group Three Belle of the Turf (1600m) at Gosford on December 28 to try to improve on her third placed efforts in the Tibbie Stakes and Mona Lisa Stakes earlier in the season.

Overmeire, who is apprenticed to Baker, admitted he was not certain he had won the race but the mare deserved it.

“I don’t think she was getting tired,” he said.

“I just think she was waiting for company to come and challenge her.

“If that did happen earlier I think she would have kicked into another gear and gone on with it,

“My opinion is that she’s a better chaser than a front-running horse.”

In contrasting style, Sweet Deal ($7) has had to bullock her way through horses from midfield to win the TAB Rewards Handicap (1400m) by three-quarters of a length from So Magic ($13).

Although she had been tried at Group One level over 1600m when unplaced in last year’s Flight Stakes, Sweet Deal’s immediate goals are modest.

“I just want to take her through her grades and keep her winning,” trainer John Thompson said.