Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker will make his first trip to Western Australia for the Group 2 $500,000 Golden River Development – Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot on January 1 with his all the way Christmas Cup winner Cantonese.
Cantonese, with a vintage Jim Cassidy front running ride, gave nothing else a chance and ran away for a six lengths victory in the Listed $100,000 Uncle Toby’s Christmas Cup (2400m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Baker is pleased with the recovery of Cantonese after his scintillating win and has no problems to travel his five year old stayer to the other side of the continent.
“I haven’t been to Perth yet but I hear it’s a lovely place,” Baker said.
“Cantonese is a seasoned five-year-old so I doubt he’ll take any ill-affect from the trip win, lose or draw.”
“It was a career-best performance and he licked his bin out last night.”
“I’m wary he’s been up for a while but nothing is telling me that he needs a break.”
Baker’s options were to send Cantonese for a spell after a long campaign, run the gelding in the Group 3 $125,000 Summer Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on December 26 or travel to Perth for four times the prizemoney.
“He’d be very hard to beat in the Summer Cup but the Perth Cup is worth four times as much and you’ve got to make the most of a horse that’s in as good as form as he is,” Baker said.
“We’ve still got to nut out the travel arrangements but it will be an experience for all involved and it’s got me really pumped.”
Baker said that Cassidy would be given first refusal for the Perth Cup mount after producing another first class ride, proving that he is still one of the best jockeys riding in Australia at the moment.
“He showed again on Saturday why he’s one of the greatest front-running riders we’ve ever seen,” Baker said.
Cantonese is racing in outstanding form and after winning his way through the classes over the Spring broke through in Open company last Saturday over the 2400m.
Bunbury trainer Peter Giadresco will have to find a new jockey for Perth Cup hopeful Full Reign after regular rider Glenn Smith was suspended by Perth stewards last Saturday for causing interference in the Group 3 $125,000 Sir Ernest Lee-Steere Classic (1400m) at Ascot last Saturday.
Smith will be available to ride Full Reign in Wednesday’s $55,000 A.T.A. Handicap (2200m) at Ascot before commencing his suspension which will see him on the sidelines for twenty-one days.
Full Reign is the winner of his last two starts in restricted class and is stepping up to 2200m for the first time this campaign in preparation for the 2400m Perth Cup.