Trainer Ciaron Maher is looking to step his...
Murray Baker’s star Emirates Stakes winning Kiwi raider Turn Me Loose will be back in Melbourne this autumn kicking off another hopefully successful campaign down under in the 2016 CF Orr Stakes next month.
A winner of six of his 11 career runs for over $1.13 million in prize money, four-year-old Iffraaj stallion Turn Me Loose enjoyed a stellar spring preparation in Victoria late last year.
He won three stakes races on the trot including the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day and the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) over the same distance at Flemington on November 7 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
His Cambridge-based New Zealand trainer Baker has confirmed plans to run the galloper first-up on February 13 at Caulfield Racecourse in the $400,000 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) chasing more weight-for-age elite level success.
Despite the CF Orr Stakes serving as a potential lead-up into the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on ‘Super Saturday’ in March, Baker has indicated Turn Me Loose is unlikely to target that longer distanced feature.
“I don’t think we can get him ready – he really needs three runs to run over ground,” Baker told Racing Victoria this week.
“If he runs first-up over 1400m, he probably goes to 1400m again in the Futurity (Stakes) and then it’s a bit jammed up (to get to the Australian Cup).
“But we’d like to think he’ll run 2000m.”
The $400,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) runs at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 27, and Moment Of Change (2014) was the last horse to complete the CF Orr – Futurity double.
Baker, who is thrilled with his horse’s progress, also hasn’t ruled out a Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival raid for Turn Me Loose this time in.
“We’re pretty happy with him, he’s a big strong horse,” he said.
“He can run off the pace – that’s the thing – he doesn’t have to lead, so you’ve got a couple of strings to your bow there.”
Other CF Orr Stakes-bound hopefuls this season include last weekend’s Standish Handicap winner Durendal who next races in the Australia Stakes on January 23, the Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane last seen running third to Chautauqua in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) under the lights at the Valley on October 23 and Nigel Blackiston’s 2015 Futurity Stakes winning mare Suavito.
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