Eagle Opportunities Too Good For Baker To Pass Up
When Bjorn Baker bumped into jockey Adrian Layt earlier this week he wasn’t aware they’d be riding together in Saturday’s $10 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Layt is a popular rider and the story around his five-year-old son Liam, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, is well known.
He won’t be riding in the Golden Eagle, as he’s booked for rides at Dubbo, but thanks to the charity connection the race has he will be hoping Baker’s classy four-year-old Overpass can earn a large slice of the prizemoney as 10 per cent will go to support the Save Our Sons Duchenne Foundation.
“I saw him earlier in the week, I left it up to Darby Racing to choose and it’s amazing how it works out,’’ Baker said.
“He’s a good bloke Adrian and a good horseman. You feel for them and I’d love to get a good result for him and his family.
“There’s a lot of very good causes out there, we’re in a remarkable position with racing in Australia. The money is something you can only dream of so hopefully we can help some of those in need.”
After running sixth in the TAB Everest, Baker gave a lot of thought to whether Overpass should run in the Eagle or chase some of the Sprint Series Bonus via the $3m Nature Strip Stakes.
He tracked the speed into the straight but wasn’t able to sprint with them when the pressure went on though was beaten less than three lengths.
“I thought he went well. You dream of winning those races but they are hard races to win,’’ Baker said.
“You’re only four once, it’s a Golden Eagle and a massive race in its own right and hopefully we’ll be in the sprint series next year.
“You’ve got to be in to win and he's coming out of a high pressure race so he will be able to use that to his advantage.”
With an ideal barrier for his racing style, Baker just wants a dry track to allow Overpass, $18 with TAB on Thursday, to produce his absolute best.
He points out the entire was able to beat Anamoe and Forbidden Love in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes on a good track at Rosehill earlier this year and believes the time is right to try him at 1500m.
“He has the form at Rosehill so if we can get on top of the track he’s the under-rated horse in the race,’’ he said.
“He jumped a length clear the other day and his racing mannerisms were good. He showed great natural speed and I think that will hold him in good stead.
“We tried him at the back end of last prep in the All Aged on a very wet Randwick track and he’d had a long preparation. The other time he was at 1400m was in the Sires’ as a two-year-old and he ran a good fourth.
“I have no doubt now he’s a much bigger stronger horse. He’s perfectly set up to get over a bit more ground.”
Silver Eagle winner Vilana will be Godolphin’s lone representative in the Golden Eagle after stablemate Brigantine had to be scratched with an issue.
Trainer James Cummings said on RSN on Thursday while the outside barrier isn’t ideal for Vilana it may not be the worst thing either.
The gelding is unbeaten second-up and has shown versatility in his eight starts to date.
“He went like a bomb first-up and hopefully he carries right on with his preparation,’’ he said.
“He’s going to need to have his wits about him, he’s drawn out there in the Parramatta Speedway.
“A number of good chances have drawn wide on the track and there’s bound to be a lot of pressure in the race.
“With plenty of pressure and the quality of opposition he’s coming up against I’m glad he went so well first-up because that’s how your horse has to be going to be a real chance in the race.”