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 with CrownBet.com.au 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Although Chautauqua could still be withdrawn, Baker said if that scenario unfolded a second Group One was no formality.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.