Trainer Murray Baker is expecting multiple Group 1 winner Turn Me Loose to take plenty of benefit from his first-up run in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Friday afternoon.
Turn Me Loose has experienced plenty of success hit-and-run preparations in Australia and Baker is anticipating plenty more success for the five-year-old throughout his forthcoming 2017 Autumn Carnival preparation.
Revealing that the son of Iffraaj is not wound up to post a first-up win in the Australia Stakes on Friday, Baker told Racing Victoria that he is expecting the horse to strip fitter for the run, ahead of Group 1 assaults on the CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m) in February.
“He’s never been a fresh-up horse,” Baker said.
“He has won a trial (in New Zealand) but it’s the same as the late spring. The 1200m is too short for him but we just had to kick him off.
“The story is to get him to the Orr and to the Futurity, which he won last year.
“He’s been at Flemington since last Wednesday and he’s settled in pretty well. He’s travelled a bit now so he doesn’t worry about it.
“We’re pretty happy with him. He’s going as good as he ever did. He’s a five-year-old stallion and it just takes a bit to get them going.”
Winner of the 2014 edition of the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) in his homeland, Turn Me Loose announced himself to the Australian racing community via an impressive 2015 Spring Carnival campaign which was highlighted by consecutive wins in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m), Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m, now Cantala Stakes).
Resuming in 2016 for fourth in the CF Orr Stakes, Turn Me Loose stormed home to win the Futurity Stakes but was unable to find much in either of the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), nor the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and was returned to the paddock.
Turn Me Loose returned to Australia for two starts in spring, but finished eighth in both the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) and Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) before returning to New Zealand.