Overpass set to chase place in The Everest
Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker is eagerly awaiting the return of his class sprinter Overpass, a horse he thinks is set to take the leap into the mix with Australia's best speedsters this spring.
The four-year-old son of Vancouver has gone from a boy to a man according to his trainer who is eager to find out if the Group 2 weight-for-age winner has improved enough to mix it with the likes of Nature Strip, Eduardo, Classique Legend and Lost And Running.
“I’m really happy with how he’s come up,” Baker said. “He’s definitely developed into more of a man.
“I’ve got no doubt he’s come back a better horse. A bigger and stronger horse.
“He’s got a lot going for him for a spot in The Everest but now it’s up to him.
“He needs to prove he’s worthy of a slot.
“I think he’s going to surprise people in the spring.”
Baker plans to trial Overpass for the first time this campaign on Friday at Rosehill and said the form guide shows the classy galloper would relish dryer conditions this spring.
“He had his first decent hit out last week and I’m thrilled with what he’s showing me,” Baker said.
“If we can have a dry spring, he’s a horse that I think could really put his hand up.
“He won the Expressway on the good, was a close second behind Lost And Running in the Southern Cross and won the Inglis race at Flemington before he started copping the really wet tracks.
“He wasn’t hopeless on the heavy, just not as effective as he is on top of the ground.”
Baker said he, like everyone couldn’t hide his delight late last week when Racing NSW announced their latest round of prizemoney increases as well as the spring $6 million Sydney Sprint Bonus that will be on offer in the spring carnival’s biggest sprint races.
The horse that scores the most points when contesting three or more of the six qualifying races – Concorde Stakes (1000m), The Shorts (1100m), Premiere Stakes (1200m), The Everest (1200m), Sydney Stakes (1200m) and Nature Strip Stakes (1300m) – will earn the rich prize.
Despite the huge carrot, Baker remains uncommitted to any specific spring races, with his eyes firmly on building his stallion’s appeal to Australia’s leading breeding operations.
“We’re just going to have a bit of a think where we go with him,” he said.
“There’s no hiding from them and I do think he’s jumped up a level and I think he’s going to start to mount a case for one of the vacant slots for The Everest.
“The obvious races in Sydney are races like The Shorts and the Premiere Stakes but right now I’m not going to lock him down for anything.
“He’s a colt so if we can win a Group 1 with him it sets him up for life so I’m not going into the spring with a blinkered approach.”
Overpass is priced at $34 with TAB.com.au for The Everest and $26 for the Champions Sprint, formerly the VRC Sprint Classic, at Flemington on October 29.