It’s been a memorable 24 hours in the decorated racing career of Cambridge horseman Murray Baker.
On Friday evening, he was inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame and he celebrated his inclusion in style on Saturday afternoon when he produced Lizzie L’Amour for a dazzling victory in the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa.
“She’s flying at the moment and she won that pretty easily,” said Baker, who trains with Andrew Forsman. “She’s been right in form ever since she came back from Australia, things just didn’t work out for her there.”
Lizzie L’Amour failed to fire in four spring appearances in Melbourne, but she’s turned it around at home with a first-up win in the Group 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) before runner-up finishes in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) and the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m).
The Zabeel mare raced close to the pace at Te Rapa before rider Matt Cameron allowed her to amble closer three wide across the top. They took control 250m from home and drew clear effortlessly to beat Windflower and the winner’s stablemate Nicoletta took third.
“She has a nomination for the Auckland Cup, but I think she’ll go to the Bonecrusher instead,” Baker said.
“We’ll put in a nomination for the Queen Elizabeth in Sydney and see how long she holds up – she’s certainly in great touch at the moment.”
Nicoletta made the running and she fought on gallantly in the run home.
“It was a terrific run from a stud point of view,” Baker said. “She’s a Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed, she’s probably done enough.”
Lizzie L’Amour has now won seven of her 19 starts and she has been ridden in both of her Group 1 victories – her first was in the New Zealand Stakes (2000m) – by Cameron.
“She’s a star and she’s got better as she’s got older,” he said. “She’s a pleasure to ride and when they win like that it’s a bit special.