Caulfield Cup winning New Zealand horseman Murray Baker has next month’s Emirates Stakes selected as the Grand Final target for his Seymour Cup winning stallion Turn Me Loose.
The Cambridge-based Baker enjoyed a stellar weekend in Victoria with his progressive son of Iffraaj Turn Me Loose winning the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) on Sunday, a day after his dual Derby winner Mongolian Khan made history saluting as the favourite in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
He is now looking at the next-up assignments for his two top four-year-olds this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
After pulling up well from his Caulfield Cup triumph over British raider Trip To Paris, Mongolian Khan is on track to go the distance and step up to two miles at Flemington on Tuesday November 3 in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
While the now third favourite in futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, Mongolian Khan trailing only Japan’s Fame Game and the Ed Dunlop-trained Trip To Paris in the markets for the ‘race that stops a nation’, is Baker’s headline horse the trainer is also looking at an elite level target for Turn Me Loose.
A winner of four of his nine career starts to date, Turn Me Loose has finished out of the money just once when a first-up sixth in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings back in late August.
He is a Group 1 winner back in New Zealand having won last November’s Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) and has had two runs down under this time in.
His first was at Flemington when a devastatingly close second behind Worthy Cause in the Listed Paris Lane Stakes (1400m) on Turnbull Stakes Day and then his Saturday win in the Seymour Cup.
Now he heads towards a Melbourne Cup Carnival run back at Flemington on Saturday November 7 in the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), a race Baker has never saddled-up a runner in.
Last year’s Emirates Stakes winner was Phillip Stokes’s Adelaide visitor Hucklebuck (2014) who came off a Flemington win in the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) on Victoria Derby Day, a race Baker could target this season with Turn Me Loose leading into the Group 1.
Hucklebuck was also the second four-year-old in as many years to take out the mile classic following the success of the Chris Waller-trained Boban (2013) whose lead-up run was a Caulfield victory in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m), a race won this Caulfield Cup Day by Godolphin galloper Vashka.
In the Seymour Cup, Turn Me Loose was ridden by New Zealand hoop Opie Bosson who made it three-from-three in Australia in black-type company following his Group 3 Ladies Day Vase victory aboard the Danny O’Brien-trained Miss Rose De Lago and his Caulfield Cup triumph.
Bosson is expected to continue his association with both of Baker’s Group 1 bound gallopers this campaign.