A forward showing by Havana Rey at Randwick tomorrow will go a long way to convince trainer Bjorn Baker to aim the four year old towards some higher targets in the upcoming Spring.
Havana Rey will resume in the $85,000 Young Professionals In Racing July Sprint (1200m) with the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 5 a possibility if he continues to please Baker throughout the Spring.
“He will have to be going well for that but it’s a possibility for sure,” Baker said.
Baker has already tested Havana Rey at Group 1 level and the four year old led the field into the straight in the Group 1 $350,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 9 before fading to finish fifth, less than two lengths behind Shoot Out.
He then went on to win at Group 2 level at his very next start leading all of the way in the Group 2 $175,000 Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 30 defeating Riva Da Lago and Monton who was runner up in the Chipping Norton.
Baker is hoping to have a fitness edge over his rivals when Havana Rey hits his first serious contest in the Group 2 $175,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on August 24.
“It’s a deliberate ploy. We’re trying to get him up and running. He needs good fitness to show his best and this way, at least he’s under way,” Baker said.
“The first main target is probably the Warwick Stakes on August 24. He goes well at Warwick Farm, although that race is probably still short of his best.
“From there we will look to kick on.”
Baker expects Havana Rey to benefit greatly fitness wise from his run at Randwick tomorrow but wouldn’t be surprised if he was amongst the placegetters.
“He normally takes a run or two under his belt but he’s probably a little bit further ahead to what he has been in the past,” Baker said.
“I wouldn’t be going in confident, but on his day he is a very good horse.”
Baker has snapped up leading jockey Hugh Bowman who will be having his first ride on the King Cugat gelding and is certain to get some extra urgings from the top rider who is in a desperate battle with Nash Rawiller for the Sydney jockey’s title.
Baker has tuned up Havana Rey for his return to the racetrack after three months with a Rosehill barrier trial win on July 9.