Into The Fire goes back-to-back at Tyers Park for trainer Bjorn Baker
INTO The Fire lit up Tyers Park as he led all the way on his path towards back-to-back victories at the Bathurst track.
Bjorn Baker's runner, ridden by Kathy O'Hara, started brilliantly from barrier five and crossed with ease to take up the running from the get-go in the Kennards Hire CG&E Class 1 Handicap (1,108 metres).
Major Murphy loomed up to the outside of Into The Fire with 400m to run and O'Hara had the whip out on her runner before jockey Rory Hutchings next to her.
However, under the pressure Into The Fire ($2.20 favourite) thrived and found a second wind to claim a one length win.
Major Murphy ($12) finished a half length ahead of third placed Rocketing To Win ($12, Blake Spriggs).
O'Hara said Baker and connections should be encouraged by the fact that there's still plenty of improvement the Exceed And Excel gelding can make.
"He feels like a nice horse. He's a little bit progressive and a horse on the way up. I believe only about six percent of horses win a maiden then go on to win their next one. I know it's country grade but I believe he's capable of winning better races in the future," she said.
"He's a little green in some of his mannerisms but out here today he raced like a professional and did everything that he needed to do. You can tell he's slightly immature but he's a very good looking horse."
Into The Fire was sent to the front, just as he'd done a week and a half earlier at Tyers Park, and the front-running trend is working wonders for the three-year-old.
"Bjorn was pretty keen to let him go out and lead the race. He wears a tongue tie and is a little bit thick in the wind but he got into a good rhythm today and he was breathing really well," O'Hara said.
"He obviously jumped well, crossed easily and travelled nicely in front. I got easy mid-race sections. There were a couple of horses coming out wide at the 500m but he never got worked up.
"I wanted to leave a little bit in him for the run up the hill here and he found plenty under pressure late."
Meanwhile, the day's feature Class 4 Country Championships Preview (1,208 metres) was taken out by Peter Stanley's Not Negotiating ($17, Ashleigh Stanley) in a surprise win ahead of Bathurst-trained duo Bad Boy For Love and Buzzoni.