By Tony Megahey
Elite NZ-bred prospects Lake Tai and Californian, honing their education with the prolific Central Districts-winning Bjorn Baker team, are a prime focus for the stable and breeding buffs at Sunday’s Mudgee TAB meeting.
Baker’s Warwick Farm team has a typically hectic schedule with substantial numbers amidst Saturday's The Championships at Royal Randwick, through to Orange, Kembla and Nowra, finally winding down with lower-tier newcomers and contenders in most of the seven restricted races at Mudgee.
Astute young Baker Racing manager, Stephen McLean is invariably across all breeding, form and potential.
“It's early days but we’ve got expectations through the breeding lines of Californian - she’s a full-sister to Brambles, a Queensland Derby winner (2012), and a genuine Group 1 performer, McLean enthused.
"Lake Tai is a half-brother to that Group sprinter The Bostonian.”
Imposing three-year-old filly Californian is by Savabeel from Prickle while four-year-old gelding Lake Tai is by Jimmy Choux from Keepa Cheval, dam of The Bostonian.
They both contest the Sea Eagle’s Member’s Class 1 and Maiden (1600m); Lake Tai with 59kg to be ridden by Simon Price and Californian with 55.5kg to be ridden by Baker's stable rider South African Brandon Larena.
“Obviously maturing, lightly raced, we’re educating them through the right grades and happy with their progress,” McClean added.
“Their form is really encouraging - when Lake Tai won his maiden at Mudgee he came from a clear last, probably the run of the day, and he’s held his form in likely harder races.
“The filly also won her maiden well enough on pace, maybe the softer going didn’t suit her last start and she’s bred to stay. “
McLean also has expectations for three-year-old filly Miss Jay Fox in the Col Hodges OAM, 50 years, Maiden 1100m.
“As an emerging two-year-old she was showing us enough to contest the Gimcrack Stakes,” McLean said.
“Then we gave her extensive time off to mature, she’s come back and trialled super. Struck a strong maiden at Hawkesbury, she’ll be fitter again and tough to beat in this grade.”
Mudgee will race in fine weather and an anticipated good track.