Bjorn Baker has put spelling plans on hold for consistent stayer Cantonese and will instead test him at Group 2 level in the 2013 Perth Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day.
The decision comes after the five-year-old stayer excelled with a six-length win on Saturday when getting up to the longest trip of his career in the Listed 2012 Christmas Cup (2400m) at Rosehill.
With top front-running jockey Jim Cassidy calling the shots, Cantonese assumed the lead early in the race and held a four-length margin on his rivals rounding the home turn.
Just as it looked his competitors may challenge, Cantonese found another gear and showed a genuine appreciation for the extra distance as he stormed home for a dominant victory.
Cantonese only joined Baker’s stable in August and he was clearly excited that the son of Redoute’s Choice was able to pick up his first stakes win.
“It was great to watch, I know I’m a little bit biased but it’s great to have a horse like that in the race,” Baker told media post race.
Since joining Baker from John O’Shea’s stables in August, Cantonese has produced career best form.
From 10 outings under his new trainer, the five-year-old has secured 6 victories and has not finished worse than fourth.
While the Perth Cup will feature the best from the west, a small contingent of east-coast horses are likely to make the trip west including Doctor Fremantle who was at one stage trained by Bjorn Baker and father Murray in New Zealand.
Now under the guidance of Sam Pritchard-Gordon, Doctor Fremantle showed some of the promise that made him a Group 2 winner at Newmarket in 2009 when finishing a strong fourth in the Ballarat Cup earlier this month.