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The 2020 The Metropolitan in Sydney this October is firmly on the spring agenda for soon-to-return Australian Derby winner Quick Thinker with trainer Murray Baker remaining hopeful of a subsequent Caulfield and Melbourne Cup campaign.
With the COVID-19 interstate border restrictions putting the spring plans for many horses up in the air, New Zealand-based horseman Baker is focusing on the Sydney features for his talented So You Think four-year-old Quick Thinker.
Baker, who trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman in Cambridge, has big plans for the OTI Racing-owned entire upon his new season return.
Quick Thinker was an autumn revelation for the stable in Sydney winning the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
The then three-year-old was dropped back in distance off his Group 1 Derby success for the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate, but found the 2000m too sharp when fifth to Kinane last time out.
Quick Thinker is now gearing up for the feature staying races over the coming months with Baker looking at the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day, October 3.
Both Quick Thinker and fellow staying stablemate The Chosen One, runner-up in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) over two miles, are on track for the event and are also qualified for the distance majors in Melbourne.
Should restrictions ease, Baker is hopeful of heading south with the pair to target the Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 and the Group 1 $7.5 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“The Chosen One and Quick Thinker are both qualified for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups,” Baker told the NZ Racing Desk.
‘”But until we know what is happening with the spring carnival in Melbourne with all this COVID-19 going on over there, they’ll be going to Sydney to start with, if we can finalise the travel arrangements.
“If they can get to Sydney and Melbourne doesn’t open up the borders, at least they will have some good races to run in. There are so many good opportunities in Sydney.
“I’ve won 22 Group 1 races in Australia and I’d like to think I can win more.”
All-in The Metropolitan 2020 betting at Ladbrokes.com.au lists Quick Thinker at $26 ahead of nominations closing on September 7 and he and The Chosen One will be on show for barrier trials in New Zealand on Wednesday.
Baker also noted the Group 2 $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 5 as a likely first-up target for Savabeel five-year-old The Chosen One.
“He’s already won a Group 2 and Group 3 in Aussie and he’s up to winning a Group 1 over there,” he said.
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