By Tony Megahey
The flourishing new racing partnership of Bjorn Baker and Greg Ryan is primed to again dominate at Monday’s Orange TAB meeting, with notable re-enforcement from relocated Victorian jockey Noel Callow.
Orange was the planned alternative for the prolific Baker stable who had several of Monday’s runners engaged at last Tuesday’s washed out Nowra TAB meeting, to be ridden by Ryan. They combine in five races at Orange, and all will be pronounced or equal favourites.
Callow also rides a likely favourite as he consolidates a move to NSW and links with Baker. Ryan and Baker have a huge regional following.
Ambitious Prince opens their day, followed by Mad Pirate in the second, Money Travels in the fourth event, boom triallist Bel’s Boy who has drawn wide in the sixth race, and Tony’s Reward in the last. Baker’s racing manager Jack Bruce assesses what promises to be a huge day.
“Yes, we’ve strong chances throughout, some really nice, progressive types and Greg is the best out here to give them every chance,” Bruce offered. “Ambitious Prince was game last start and is suited up in trip.
“Mad Pirate was really strong through the line at Goulburn; he’s three weeks between runs but he’s well forward and certainly looking for the 1600m. Money Travels has been racing in tougher provincial company, he had no luck last start and he’s really well-placed here.
“Bel’s Boy is very promising, his trials at Rosehill and Kembla were impressive, he was ready to go at Nowra but obviously the extreme outside draw makes it tough here. But we’ll leave that to Greg, he usually finds a way to put them there and this is a nice type.
“Tony’s Reward is resuming but he’s had a trial, is in really good order and he won well at Bathurst at long odds-on. He’ll be hard to beat again.”
The profile Warwick Farm trainer and the record-breaking Ryan are enjoying a booming season at the provincials, especially at Bathurst where they combined for five winners in November, and numerous doubles and trebles since.
Provincial winners are coming with machine-like efficiency for Baker, a pharmacist before he moved into a brilliant training career, culminating in 121 winners last season after Derby and Group I success previously.
Ryan matched his Bathurst feat with five winners at Tamworth early in the year as the celebrated veteran propelled well past 3500 career winners. Meanwhile, Orange is rated a soft five track at present in fine weather.