By Ray Hickson
A booming fresh run has trainer Bjorn Baker confident Collateral is on target for the feature summer staying races but he’s cautious about the horse’s chances at Rosehill on Saturday.
Whether it is fear of the second-up syndrome or just simply playing it safe, Baker said he’ll be happier once he gets through the Turner Freeman Handicap (1800m).
Collateral resumed with an eye-catching second, beaten narrowly, behind Improvement at Randwick on October 21 and his record says he generally improves with the run.
“It was a big run first-up and I think we are yet to see the best of him,’’ Baker said.
“I just think second-up be might be a bit vulnerable going 1400m up to 1800m. He does look better and he's only got a small field so there's definitely some upside.’’
Despite the soft ground, Punter's Intel data showed Collateral ran a solid 34.53 for his last 600m and was the only horse to break 12 seconds (11.88) for the final 200m in the race.
Baker has his eye on races like the Listed ATC Cup (2000m), Christmas Cup (2400m) and Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) in the next two months for Collateral.
“We'll try to get him up to be competitive in those sort of races,’’ he said.
Collateral's fast-finishing second at Randwick - October 21
“I think he is up to it, he's very genuine.”
Baker warned not to underestimate stablemate Embley in the six horse field. The gelding was placed in the Hill Stakes at weight-for-age two starts ago before finishing seventh in the Group 3 Craven Plate.
“We'll just put a line through that, he's been consistent and it was a tough race,’’ he said.
“He's been in good form so you can't knock him and the 1800m at Rosehill suits him.’’
A wide gate arguably cost Impavido victory at Randwick two weeks ago and the lightly raced four-year-ol had again drawn out in the Lidoran Group Handicap (1800m).
Impavido had to give away an impossible start over the Randwick mile and ran Mortar Platoon, who he meets again on Saturday, to 0.2 lengths.
“Up to 1800m should suit him, he's in great order and I think regardless of the gate he will be very competitive,’’ Baker said.
“He looks magnificent and I think he's ready to run the race of his preparation.’’
Coolring might be an $18 chance with TAB for his first-up run in the Bradford Sunscreen Handicap (1200m) but Baker is expecting him to show something fresh.
The grey was a recent Hawkesbury trial winner and will race with the blinkers on first-up.
“It's a drop in grade for him, he's well and is always consistent,’’ Baker said.
“He raced against some pretty good horses last prep so we can put a bit of a line through that. If he runs up to his first-up run last prep he will be very competitive.’’