By Ray Hickson
Trainer Bjorn Baker has warned not to put a lot of emphasis on talented colt Goodfella’s trials ahead of his first-up assignment at Rosehill on Saturday.
The three-year-old hasn’t been beaten a long way in his two hitouts ahead of the TAB.com.au Handicap (1200m) but he hasn’t caught the eye either.
Baker said Goodfella is a ‘laid back customer’ and he has seen all the signs he needs in the horse to say he’s in good order.
“I wouldn’t be looking into his trials too much at all,’’ he said.
“He’s never a great trial horse, he tends to put his best foot forward on the track.
“On his day he is very, very good. He’s probably been a bit patchy at times, last time first-up he needed it.’’
That first-up run was in the Listed Heritage Stakes in September and he finished last behind Viridine but he quickly bounced back with successive wins including the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes.
What do you make of Goodfella's Warwick Farm trial on July 6?
There are plenty of racing luminaries in the winner’s frame of his next five starts – the likes of Merchant Navy, Pierata and Kementari – and Saturday’s race, where he was $6.50 with TAB on Friday, will be his first non-black type appearance since his Randwick win on October 7.
“He was very good through the summer and his run (when second) in the Magic Millions was top class,’’ Baker said.
“If he brings that form he’d be right in the race. One of the reasons we have him up and going is he might have a fitness edge when the good horses come around.’’
Baker concedes Goodfella will need some luck from his tricky alley at the 1200m start but is going in with an open mind on how Blake Shinn will be asked to steer.
“We’ll see how the day is playing, he’s probably a bit more tactical than he was,’’ he said.
“He tended to always get back but he is jumping a bit better so we will see how the day is playing before we make any firm commitment on how he ride him.’’
Baker is the fourth trainer to take the reins on handy but enigmatic mare Smart Amelia when she resumes in the Spring On Sale Sprint (1100m).
Smart Amelia ($9.50) started out with James Cummings, switched to Chris Waller for two starts when Cummings moved to Godolphin, then had her next three runs with Peter and Paul Snowden.
With one win from 16 starts Baker doesn’t have a lot to lose but he’s been impressed with what he’s seen of her in the one trial she’s had this campaign.
“She’s going in on the fresh side, we haven’t done a whole heap with her,’’ he said.
“I’m happy with how she looks and if she brings her best foot forward she is definitely not out of a race like that.’’
On Impavido ($7.50), who has drawn one from the outside in the ATC Owner Benefits Card Handicap (1500m), Baker said: “His last run was good, we were positive that day and we will see how the day is playing with him too. I think he is going well, he looks great at the moment.’’
Meanwhile, Group 1 winner Music Magnate will be another top class trialler at the July 23 session at Rosehill Gardens as he has his second trial this preparation and classy filly Champagne Cuddles is due to return to Baker’s stable in a couple of weeks following her Brisbane campaign.