Baker doubles up in Queen Of The Turf Stakes

By: Mark Mazzaglia
April 10th, 2015

Cambridge trainer Murray Baker has doubled his chances of winning another Group 1 on Day Two of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday at Randwick with Diademe and Sports Illustrated in the  Group 1 $1m Cellarbrations Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).

Trainer Murray Baker, above, has two chances to win the Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Trainer Murray Baker, above, has two chances to win the Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Baker cleaned up with Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on Monday at the postponed first day of ‘The Championships’ and is hoping the New Zealand form will stand up against the top fillies and mare in Australia.

“They have settled in well so hopefully they can bring their New Zealand form to Sydney,’’ Baker told The Daily Telegraph.

Baker decided to bring Diademe and Sports Illustrated across the Tasman after the mares ran the quinella in the Group 1 NZ$200,000 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha last Saturday.

“The race is the only Group 1 for mares in New Zealand so to run one-two was pretty satisfying,’’ Baker said.

Baker was handed the visitor’s draw when barriers were released on Tuesday with Diademe drawing the outside of the fifteen horses field and Sports Illustrated not faring much better with gate thirteen.

Both Diademe and Sports Illustrated raced in the first half the field in the Breeders Stakes and Baker is confident that they will be able to overcome the wide barriers.

“Diademe is a very good mare but she has the visitor’s draw. Sports Illustrated is a consistent mare, a Group 2 winner herself, but she has also drawn out wide,” Baker said.

“Both mares are go-forward types and there is a good, long run to the first turn so they should be OK.”

Champion English rider Ryan Moore has been given the task of slotting Diademe into a handy position while top Kiwi rider Opie Bossun takes over from Craig Grylls on Sports Illustrated.

Both mares have been rated as outsiders of the field with posting them at $34 each.

The John Thompson trained First Seal heads the market order for the Queen Of The Turf Stakes at $3.40 just ahead of Victorian mare Noble Protector at $3.60 and the consistent Catkins at $4.60.

Queen Of The Turf Stakes market order at $3.40 First Seal, $3.60 Noble Protector, $4.60 Catkins, $17 Cosmic Endeavour, $18 Diamond Drille, $21 Telepathic, Amicus, Intimate Moment, $26 Gypsy Diamond, $31 Amanpour, $34 Diademe, Sports Illustrated, $41 Bonaria, $101 Hera, $151 Just A Blur.

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