Saracino Debuts Down Under in Danehill Stakes 2016

New Zealand visitor Saracino will kick off a possible Caulfield Guineas bid down under in Melbourne this weekend with his maiden Australian run scheduled at Flemington in the 2016 Danehill Stakes.

Turn Me Loose

Last year’s New Zealand-trained Emirates Stakes winner Turn Me Loose is working towards another Melbourne bid after injury this spring. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

A three-year-old son of Per Incanto, Saracino is one of a host of Kiwi youngsters the Cambridge-based training duo of Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman plan to bring to Victoria this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

The colt has had four starts to date and broke his maiden status on August 13 at Te Rapa with a victory over the Stephen Marsh-trained No More Tears in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m).

That followed on from two Group 1 runs in the autumn including the brave third to Luna Rossa in April’s Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) run on a mud track.

Co-trainer Baker confirmed Saracino would have his first Melbourne run at Flemington Racecourse on Makybe Diva Stakes Day in the $200,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) this Saturday.

The up-and-comer is also nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) over the mile on October 8, but needs to show something first-up against a field of fellow three-year-olds at set weights plus penalties.

“It will be a big ask, he won a Group 2 at weight-for-age against the older horses over here but it’s a lot stronger company in Melbourne and he’s got to step up,” Baker told Racing Victoria.

Saracino currently pays $17 in all-in Caulfield Guineas betting at with futures markets led by the Team Hawkes-trained Divine Prophet ($8) and another New Zealand raider Sacred Elixir ($9).

The first round of 2016 Caulfield Guineas acceptances close on Tuesday September 6 and Baker & Forsman currently have four nominees in the mix.

Among them is Highlad who retained his undefeated record with a win at home over the weekend.

Highlad however could find the Caulfield Guineas distance too short and is likely to run in Sydney instead on way to a shot at Flemington’s $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) on October 29.

Baker chases his second Victoria Derby success having prepared the 2010 winner Lion Tamer who came off a second in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase that spring.

Also looking to run down under again this spring is stable star Turn Me Loose, a triple Group 1 winner and dual elite level champ in Australia.

The Iffraaj stallion hasn’t raced since suffering an injury during his 14th to champion mare Winx in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in Sydney on April 2.

He is best known by Aussie punters for his wins in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) – now the Longines Mile – last November and this February’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).

The now five-year-old is down to trial this week at home and his performance there will help Baker decide whether he’ll be right for a spring return in Melbourne this year.

“He may trial this Thursday at Cambridge but the track is very wet,” he said.

“If he goes anywhere I suspect that it will be Melbourne but he’s behind the eight ball and it’s a matter of whether he can get ready in time.

“He is Melbourne-owned and they’d like to see him race over there if possible.”

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