A sensational spring down under in Victoria can continue for New Zealand trainer Murray Baker at Sandown on Saturday including in the Sandown Guineas 2015 where his classy colt Dal Cielo is set to line-up.
Baker has enjoyed two elite level victories this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with four-year-old stablemates Mongolian Khan and Turn Me Loose winning the Caulfield Cup and Emirates Stakes respectively.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing however, Mongolian Khan ruled out of a shot at the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) due to a bout of colic.
Still the Cambridge-based horseman isn’t doing much complaining especially after the impressive all-the-way win of Turn Me Loose in the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) last Saturday.
Baker has two nominees to run at Sandown Hillside on Zipping Classic Day this weekend including his three-year-old Per Incanto colt Dal Cielo in the $250,000 Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
A winner of two of his eight starts so far the young galloper has had three runs down under this campaign.
The first was an eye-catching third to Bon Aurum in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) in late September, but Dal Cielo could only manage to finish 5.85 lengths away third in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) over the mile behind Press Statement next start.
In an unusual preparation the horse then dropped down to a sprint distance for Flemington’s Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Derby Day, October 31, where he was again well-beaten by a similar 5.65 length margin by another Chris Waller-trained three-year-old Japonisme.
Now Baker is hoping for an improved run when he steps Dal Cielo back up to the mile for another shot over the 1600m this time in easier class and company in the Sandown Guineas.
In preparation the up-and-comer was put through his paces on the Flemington grass on Tuesday morning, working well over 1000m in 1:09.33 with a final 400m sectional completed in 23.79 seconds.
Other notable Sandown Guineas entries this season include the John O’Shea-trained Demonstrate, Darren Weir’s Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) winner on Derby Day Mahuta after his fourth straight win and Tony McEvoy’s in-form filly Don’t Doubt Mamma from Adelaide.
Baker’s other Sandown entry for the weekend is perennial fourth placegetter this campaign Maygrove in the $150,000 Listed Sandown Cup (3200m).
A five-year-old son of Authorized, he also worked at Flemington on Tuesday morning but over double the distance.
He completed the 2000m in 2:19.40 on the grass with his last 600m covered in 37.48 seconds and final 400m sectional in 24.59 seconds.
Maygrove comes off three fourth placed runs in Group 3 company in Melbourne this preparation, the latest behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained former Sydney Cup champ The Offer in the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m).
The Offer went on to run eighth behind upset $101 winner Prince Of Penzance in last week’s Melbourne Cup, a race Waterhouse won in 2013 with Fiorente.
A seven-year-old son of Montjeu, $1.5 million earner The Offer is also among the Sandown Cup nominations for this weekend where he will go up 54kg in the Melbourne Cup to the 60kg top weight.
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