By Tony Megahey
A future city contender is emerging amidst the dominance at Bathurst of the Bjorn Baker and Greg Ryan combination in Tuesday’s TAB meeting.
The Baker’s flying Bel’s Boy with Ryan aboard, confirmed impressive Rosehill and Kembla barrier trials by winning a maiden unextended from a wide draw at Orange in fast time recently, and he’ll start short odds for a repeat on Tuesday.
The prolific Ryan also rides fancied stablemates Hez Lethal and Money Travels in respective races as the link with Baker flourishes with regular doubles and even trebles this season and last at the popular Central District’s track.
Bel’s Boy, a Bon Hoffa three-year-old gelding contests a Watermart Class 1 (1106m) dash and given the acceleration he displayed at Orange, a wide draw again is no deterrent, according to Baker racing manager, Jack Bruce.
“Absolutely he’s shown the progression to suggest he could be up to city grade; his gate speed was impressive, he ran time and won with something in hand,” Jack enthused.
“We’re staying in the country with him as he’s taken a while to put it together and he needs more race and travel experience.
“But we’re confident about him taking the next step. And the pace he showed to position and finish off, suggests the wide draw won’t be a problem with Greg aboard.”
Hez Lethal, a three-year-old Stryker gelding, contests a Rural Bin Service CG&E Maiden (1106m) after leading when resuming and a close fourth in a tougher Kembla maiden three weeks ago.
"He’s a nice type; he’ll be fitter off a couple of trials and the Kembla run. He showed good speed to lead and only tired the last little bit at 1200m, so back to 1100m certainly suits.”
But the Baker stable is acutely aware of the rare presence of a Hawke’s runner at Bathurst in Luck of Friendship who will start favourite on the strength of successive Gold Coast maiden placings last prep and the benefit of a recent Rosehill barrier trial.
Finally, Baker and Ryan combine with Money Travels, well drawn in an Oak Tree Retirement Village Maiden (1400m) after a strong-finishing photo second over 1300m at Orange recently.
“He’ll appreciate being out to 1400m the way he closed off at 1300m. He’s honest, worked really well since and from the good draw Greg should have him up and rolling in a handy position.
“Previously he ran really well in races that were probably stronger at Newcastle and Wyong so he’s well placed.”