Kiwi horseman Murray Baker has set one of his promising staying three-year-olds a Group 1 goal down under this season with the SA Derby 2013 in May on the agenda for Serpent.
Baker has enjoyed great success in Australia with his stable ace, fellow three-year-old It’s A Dundeel who is now the early favourite for both the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup this spring after completing the Sydney Autumn 3YO Triple Crown this campaign.
While not as well-known as their star stablemate who races again this Saturday on Sydney Cup Day, Baker is hoping Chinese Dragon gelding Serpent is also capable of bringing home an elite level trophy this time in.
The youngster has won three of their seven starts to date including an excellent two and a half length effort in the Listed NZ St Leger (2500m) on March 16 which was their first black type assignment.
Their commanding NZ St Leger success earned Serpent a trip across the Tasman and they made their Melbourne debut on April 13 at Flemington.
It was a disappointing result however as they could only manage to finish six lengths away fifth behind Shoreham in the Listed Galilee Series Final (2500m) having drawn wide with barrier 11 of 13 and going up from 54kg to 58kg.
Baker isn’t giving up on them just yet believing them capable of improvement as they head towards a start in the $500,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 5 where they would met Galilee winner Shoreham once more.
In their final SA Derby 2013 lead-up Serpent will run at Flemington Racecourse on Thursday in the $150,000 Listed VRC St Leger (2800m), their performance in which will determine whether or not Baker will look to add another Derby title to his record following It’s A Dundeel’s big ATC Derby success.
“He’s a one-paced stayer and I think he was in need of a run last time,” Baker said of Serpent.
“He won the New Zealand St Leger before he went to Australia and I’m hoping he’s a bit fitter this time.
“The South Australian Derby is the plan if he measures up.
“I’d like to go to Adelaide. I haven’t won a Derby there. The closest I’ve come was when The Phantom came second in 1989.”
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