Baker on lookout for new rider for Twilight Royale in Hawkesbury Guineas

By: Mark Mazzaglia
April 28th, 2014

Trainer Bjorn Baker doesn’t think he will have any trouble finding a replacement rider for his filly Twilight Royale in the Group 3 $150,000 Blacktown Workers Hawkesbury Guineas(1400m) at the stand alone Hawkesbury meeting on Saturday.

Bjorn Baker is on the lookout for a rider to replace the suspended Michael Rodd for Twilight Royale

Bjorn Baker is on the lookout for a rider to replace the suspended Michael Rodd for Twilight Royale. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Twilight Royale resumed from a spell with Michael Rodd aboard when thirteenth in the Group 3 $200,000 The Other Woman P J Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12.

But Rodd was suspended for careless riding at Sale on Sunday and will be out of action for the weekend forcing Baker to look for a new rider for his filly.

Even with many of the top jockeys unavailable, Baker is pretty confident that he will find a suitable rider for the weekend and possibly for her the following start in the $400,000 Inglis 3yo Guineas (1400m) at Scone on May 17 where Twilight Royale will be running for a $2.4 million Inglis bonus if she can win the third leg of the bonus series.

Tommy Berry and Hugh Bowman are now in Hong Kong, Nash Rawiller is heading to the Gold Coast and a lot of the other boys are already locked up with rides,” Baker said.

“I’ll just have to wait and see who is available and then we will make a decision from there.”

“I don’t think we’ll have too much trouble finding a jockey. Whoever rides her this week will be the back-up for Scone if we find ourselves in that situation again.”

“And with so much prizemoney on the line there, you’d think we’ll have a few putting their hands up.”

Twilight Royale became eligible for the $2.4m Inglis Bonus after winning the first two legs of the series, the  $250,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Warwick Farm in December 2012 and the Group 2 $220,000 Henry Bucks Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington during the 2013 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.

And if the Testa Rosa filly collects the massive bonus, she will be the recipient of the largest payout to a winner in New South Wales’ racing history.

And Baker is looking forward to the bragging rights over his father Murray Baker who just collected the biggest payout to date when his super weight for age performer It’s A Dundeel collected  $2.4 million for winning the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19.

“The old man got $2.4 million and if we can get the cash at Scone we’ll get that in bonuses and first prizemoney ($240,950) and the BOBS Bonus ($20,000),” Bjorn Baker said.

“Knocking Murray off for the biggest payout in New South Wales racing history will give me something to talk about at Christmas.”

Twilight Royale is one of twenty-four three year olds nominated for the Hawkesbury Guineas with trained Peter Snowden entering four, Barbed, Safeguard, Sinjoren and Suit while Gai Waterhouse has entered Northern Glory and Ryker.

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