Former New Zealand trainer Bjorn Baker admits he is loving life in Sydney since making the move across the Tasman last year and why wouldn’t he be?
The Warwick Farm-based trainer has quickly established himself in the harbour city, scoring multiple Saturday metropolitan wins last season with stable favourites Mr Tipsy and Havana Rey.
After a tough initiation to Australian racing, victories flowed thick and fast towards the end of the 2011-12 season as Mr Tipsy won twice and Havana Rey collected a treble.
Baker said he was delighted with the results of last season and couldn’t be happier with the racing environment on offer in Australia.
“I’m loving it and to be honest I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at the moment,” he said.
“I love the racing and I’ve been lucky to pick up a few new clients who have all been great.”
While Havana Rey is currently having a break after a tough winter campaign, Baker will attempt to make his mark in Melbourne this weekend when Mr Tipsy lines up in the Chandler Macleod Handicap at Moonee Valley (2500m).
Baker has elected to travel to Melbourne with his stable stalwart to chase more suitable conditions for the noted wet-track performer.
“We’ll get a wetter track down there and conditions will really suit him,” Baker said.
“With Chad Schofield claiming he gets in nicely at 58kg.
“He’s been up for a long time so he might be coming towards the end of his prep but he’s in good order.”
Also currently at Baker’s Warwick Farm stable is Victoria Derby hope Dundeel who he is looking after for father Murray ahead of the three-year-old’s Australian spring campaign.
Baker co-trained Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer with his father in 2010 and the lightly-raced colt is being set on a similar path.
With New Zealand jockey James McDonald aboard, Dundeel made a winning Australian debut in the Allan Denham Handicap (1350m) at Wyong yesterday after coming from last just before the home turn.
Baker described the son of High Chapparal as a “really nice animal” and confirmed he would be aimed at the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) on October 6 before the eventual goal of the Victoria Derby.
“Everything was up against him yesterday. The distance was short of ideal, he had to carry 58kg and he’d only had one trial,” Baker said.
“But with good horses when everything is up against them they just find a way to win.
“We’ll look towards the Spring Champion Stakes as the first goal and if all is going well then obviously there is the Derby.”