Queensland Then Hong Kong for Ambitious Champion

By: Isaac Ling
May 24th, 2013

Win, lose or draw, promising New Zealand stayer Ambitious Champion is off to Hong Kong following the winter.

But whether he goes there with some Queensland feature wins under his belt could be determined this weekend.

The Murray Baker-trained gelding will make his Australian debut in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday and if all goes to plan, he will line up at Eagle Farm two weeks later in the Group 1 Queensland Derby.

Ambitious Champion is Hong Kong owned but Baker said connections are keen to chase Derby success before he relocates to Asia.

“Whatever happens he’ll be going to Hong Kong [after his winter campaign],” Baker told Sky Sports Radio.

“Most certainly if he’s good enough tomorrow they’ll press on to the Derby.”

The son of Zed makes his black-type debut this weekend on the back of two consecutive wins in New Zealand.

His last victory, at Te Rapa on April 27, was particularly impressive as he was forced wide on the track after receiving interference at the home turn.

“He got flushed right out on the bend,” Baker said.

The experienced New Zealand trainer remains cautious about talking up his charge ahead of the Grand Prix but is confident he won’t have any trouble stepping up in distance.

“He can stay and that’s the main thing,” he said.

“It’s a little bit unknown tomorrow. He’s got his opportunity but whether he’s up to class we don’t know yet.

“We’re happy with what he’s done. There were no more three-year-old races for him in New Zealand.”

Ambitious Champion is joined in the Grand Prix field by stablemate Usainity who Baker said will appreciate a drier surface after running third in heavy conditions in the Rough Habit Plate.

“That [a dead track] would be good for him,” Baker said.

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