Former New Zealand trainer Bjorn Baker may take consistent stayer Cantonese to his homeland in March to contest the Group 1 2013 Auckland Cup (3200m).
Cantonese, who will start as favourite in today’s 2012 Christmas Cup at Rosehill, has been in career best form since being transferred to Baker from John O’Shea in August.
The five-year-old finished third at Wyong in his first start under Baker and has won five of eight races under the Warwick Farm-based trainer.
Baker admits the Sydney autumn “will probably be too tough” and cites the fact it is easy logistically to take him to New Zealand given his father Murray is a high profile trainer there.
He said Cantonese had exceeded expectations in a preparation that has included two metropolitan Saturday wins and taken his career prize pool to more than $200,000.
“It’s like a dream,” Baker said.
Cantonese is a $3.10 favourite to claim the first stakes win of his career in the Christmas Cup at Rosehill today where he’ll line up in a small eight-horse field that includes last-start winner Fiumicino ($4.00).
Fiumicino, a nine-year-old veteran who has won more than $3 million in prizemoney, has returned to form in recent times with a third in October’s Bendigo Cup backed up by a drought-breaking win in the Listed ATC Cup at Warwick Farm in December.
Also high up in the Christmas Cup market is the John O’Shea-trained Iggi Pop ($5) who has improved in three starts this campaign and will appreciate the extra distance after running third to Cantonese over 2000m in a Benchmark 88 event at Rosehill on November 24.
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