By Ray Hickson
A Sydney Cup tilt in just her second preparation might be a bit ambitious but trainer Bjorn Baker is excited to see what in-form mare She’s Ideel can produce at Randwick on Saturday.
The four-year-old has been a revelation in the past month with a pair of dashing wins and Baker, short of a stable star at present, is raising the bar again in the Catanach’s Handicap (2400m) to see where she fits in.
Baker threw in a nomination for the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) for She’s Ideel, who has recorded three wins and three seconds from seven starts, and while he says it’s probably asking a bit of her it could stay on the radar if she makes it three straight.
“It’s doubtful but we will see what happens, I must say she has really grown on me,’’ Baker said.
“This time last year she wasn’t showing much ability at all but she has continued to improve.
“She looks fantastic, she is holding her condition well and she might have a bit of X-factor about her.’’
Given the style of her past two wins it’s hard to believe She’s Ideel was beaten at Hawkesbury and Muswellbrook at the start of this preparation.
She followed a dominant win on a soft 7 at Canterbury with a slashing near last to first win over 2000m at Randwick two weeks ago running the second fastest last 200m of the day (11.53 Punter’s Intelligence).
She’s Ideel is a dominant $1.75 favourite with TAB to complete the hat-trick though Baker isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s another step up and it’s further but she has handled a wet track in the past which gives me a bit of confidence,’’ he said.
“You have some fit horses in the race who have been over the trip and can handle wet as well so it is definitely not a gimme.
“I was thrilled with her last win and I’d like to think in time over ground she is up to black type especially if she continues to improve the way she has.’’
If stablemate Connemara can record her first black type win in the Group 3 $160,000 Robrick Lodge Triscay Stakes (1200m) it’ll be a special win for all concerned with the five-year-old.
Baker revealed the mare’s owner Fergus Doyle lost his wife Delia during the week.
Connemara ($14) proved to Baker that she’s a “black type winner in waiting’’ with two stakes placings at the end of last preparation and he says she’s a lot better suited on Saturday than in her solid first-up fourth to Embracer a month ago on a heavy track at Rosehill.
She's Ideel wins at Randwick on February 1
She drops from 58kg to 53kg and will jump from the inside alley.
“I thought it was a good run and fitness probably told with a big weight so there’s different circumstances,’’ he said.
“Last time in she didn’t have a lot of luck in those two black type races so I thought she was good and I’m looking forward to her going around.’’
Night Of Power is likely to take his place in the Heineken 3 Handicap (1600m) after proving himself in similar company with his last start fourth at Randwick on February 1.
Baker said he had considered waiting until a midweek race on Wednesday but given he is fit and proven in the wet he’s leaning towards running.