Bjorn Baker expects his milestone Group One winner Music Magnate to be on song in the $500,000 Canterbury Stakes, providing Sydney’s weather allows Randwick Guineas Day to proceed.
The Warwick Farm-based Kiwi trainer started out preparing his runners for heavy ground and the pride of his stable is no exception, although the five-year-old has only encountered good tracks since he won the Group Three Hall Mark Stakes at Randwick on a soft 5 last April.
“He had a jump-out last Friday. I think he’s ready to go. He’s got good wet track form,” Baker said, referring to Music Magnate’s win by a nose in the $151,000 Hall Mark.
The recent form of the gelding, who has amassed $942,125 prize money since his debut in 2014, also encouraged Baker.
The Group One Doomben 10,000 champion last May won first up after a 33-week spell when he claimed the Expressway Stakes at Rosehill on January 28 beating Kuro by 1-1/4 lengths.
“He was really good first-up and although five weeks between runs with a really testing track is normally a bit of a concern, we’ve given him a trial in between,” baker said.
“His past record and how he galloped on Tuesday on a wet track at Warwick Farm …. we’re pretty confident he’ll get through it,” Baker said.
Music Magnate is rated the second favourite for the 1300m Group One weight-for-age race at $3.80 behind champion sprinter Chautauqua ($2.90) who may be saved for the Newmarket Handicap a week later.
Jumping from barrier one with regular hoop Kerrin McEvoy aboard, Baker felt the distance was ideal for Music Magnate.
“I think 1300 really suits him. I don’t think he’s an out-and-out sprinter. Between 1200-1400 is probably his peak distance.”
Rain is forecast for Sydney on Friday and again on race day where up to 35mm is predicted. Some respite prompted a track upgrad from a heavy 9 to a heavy 8 on Thursday but the going is likely to be tough on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a long time since he’s been on a heavy track but all signs look to him getting through it. I think he’s fit enough anyway, which is probably half the battle,” Baker said.
Although Chautauqua could still be withdrawn, Baker said if that scenario unfolded a second Group One was no formality.
“It’s a really good field either way. There’s six Group One winners in it, you don’t take it for granted,” Baker said, before outlining future plans.
“We’re still in the TJ Smith and the Doncaster. We’ve even got Brisbane (to defend the Doomben 10,000 in May) to look at and possibly even The Everest in the spring.”