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Baker Hopes It's Third Time Lucky For Canasta

He’s a front-running rails hugger and trainer Bjorn Baker would like to think Canasta has his chance to improve on two second placings this time in at Randwick on Saturday.

With 60.5kg due to no apprentice claim this time around in the ACY Securities Handicap (1400m), Baker is hoping Tim Clark can bring out the best in the honest five-year-old.

Canasta resumed at Randwick a month ago and was run down by Dream Circle then gave the running rail a decent shove in the straight before trying to fight off the challenge of Cisco Bay two weeks ago over the 1400m course on a soft 7.

“He’s been running really well and he deserves one so we won’t change anything. We will go out and be positive with him,’’ Baker said.

“He’s always had that habit of wanting the fence to a degree but I wouldn’t be worried about that."

Clark has had two rides on Canasta ($4.40 with TAB on Thursday) for one win, that came in a 2100m Class 1 two years ago and he’s also won at 1800m in lesser grade but Baker sees him as a genuine miler in the making.

“I always thought he’d keep improving and I’d like to think he will be best at a mile in time and be strong at that,’’ he said.

Baker also has Exotic Ruby engaged and said if she takes her place, she is nominated for Kensington on Wednesday, she will appreciate a significant drop in weight.

The mare has finished fourth at her past three starts and lumped 61kg off a wide gate when beaten half a length by Café Royal at Warwick Farm on June 14.

“I was debating whether I run her, probably leaning towards running her but we’ll be looking at it,’’ he said.

“She just had to do a lot of work last time and I think she is going very well.”

Exotic Ruby will be ridden by Namibian jockey Heavelon Van Der Hoven, who has his first city ride in Sydney on stablemate Kobe Rocks in the Peter Kafataris Handicap (1300m).

After his two rides at Kembla on Thursday, Van Der Hoven will have only had 16 rides in Australia and Baker hopes Kobe Rocks can continue his consistent form on Saturday.

The gelding, $6 with TAB, rises 1kg on his game win at Warwick Farm on June 14.

“I think he’s going really well, his win last time was good,’’ Baker said.

“He’s back in trip again, last time we had James McDonald on, but he is a horse I’ve always had a lot of time for. From gate one over 1300m he should be able to put himself right up there.”

The Baker stable recently brought up its 100th winner for the season and the Warwick Farm trainer is keen to consolidate third place on the Sydney Trainers Premiership after sharing that position in 2019/20.


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