Turn Me Loose will return to Australian racing in the 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes and trainer Murray Baker is thrilled with the condition of the talented galloper ahead of the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Turn Me Loose was sent to Australia for the autumn last year following his win in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), but he never handled the trip and he returned to New Zealand without a race start.
Baker sent him back to Australia following a sixth place finish in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings in August of 2015 and he made his Australian racing debut with a second place finish behind Worthy Cause in the Listed Paris Lane Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 4.
Turn Me Loose claimed a maiden Australian race win with a dominant performance in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) on October 18 and he went on to stamp himself as one of the most talented horses in Australasia with impressive front-running wins in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 7.
The four-year-old returned to New Zealand for a stint in the spelling paddock, but he was quickly back on work and he was sent back to Australia for the third time following his win in a barrier trial over 1200 metres at Avondale on February 2.
Baker was happy with the barrier trial performance of Turn Me Loose and he is delighted with the condition of the Iffraaj entire ahead of the 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes, but he admits that his entire will need to be at his best to beat the 12 other Group winners in the Orr Stakes field.
“We are very happy with him,” Baker said.
“He is a good class horse, but it is a good class field – I think there are quite a few Group 1 winners in it.
“He is fresh, he won at the trials at Avondale well and he travelled over well.
“He knows the scene over there and we are just hopeful that he can run a good race.
“It will be a great race this week.”
Turn Me Loose has generally produced his best form when he has taken up the running and Baker expects the two-time Group 1 winner to find his way to the front in the Ladbrokes Orr Stakes, but he said that the Orr Stakes contender does not necessarily need to take up the running to perform at his best.
“He doesn’t have to lead, but he does have gate speed and he often finds himself there,” Baker said.
“He is a relaxed type.”
The 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes field was released this morning and Turn Me Loose is set to take on the likes of Fawkner, Happy Trails, Boban, Lucky Hussler, Rebel Dane, Mourinho, Hucklebuck, Trust In A Gust, Stratum Star, Rising Romance, Suavito and Fenway.