By Ray Hickson
Front-running grey Frosty Rocks has been on the busy side in the past month but trainer Bjorn Baker sees no reason why he can’t chalk up another win at Rosehill on Saturday.
After a couple of gutsy efforts over 1800m on the Gold Coast, Baker sees the Sky Racing Active Handicap (1500m) as an ideal chance for the four-year-old to do his thing in front and take plenty of catching.
“It can be a big positive at times, other times it can be a negative but he’s genuinely established his best runs are when he’s out doing his own thing,’’ Baker said.
“These horses when they are rock hard fit don’t tend to slow down too much so fingers crossed he will be there at the finish. He seems to be bucking his brand off his week.”
Last time Frosty Rocks, $3.80 with TAB on Thursday, raced at Rosehill he struck a soft track, got complete control, and won as he liked with Tom Sherry in the saddle.
At his last run in Queensland the grey had a target on his back and Craig Williams on the winner Paradee made sure he was on Frosty Rocks’ quarters so he couldn’t get comfortable.
With that in mind Baker was pleased with the effort and feels he’ll be right in his comfort zone with a bit of give in the ground and coming back in grade.
“He’s an interesting runner off the back to back runs over 1800m in Queensland,’’ he said.
“I thought he ran well, particularly the first one, and they rode against him a bit in the second run.
“It’s a drop in grade, he gets Tom Sherry back on and we won’t change anything. He will lead and I think he is going to be strong over the 1500m without doubt.”
Starspangled Rodeo and Off Shaw have been scratched from the Schweppes Handicap (1400m) leaving Baker with Canasta.
THe Warwick Farm trainer was rapt with Canasta’s fresh effort over 1500m, where he led and finished runner-up to Above And Beyond, and warned he’s improved with the run under his belt.
“His first-up run was excellent after a long time off, it was always going to be very demanding and I couldn’t have been happier,’’ he said.
“He looks magnificent and I think he has come on well since, he is a tough horse who puts himself up there and is going to be hard to get past.”
Stayer Harpo Marx returns to the scene of his fast-finishing win over Vadiyann two weeks ago and rises 2.5kg as he meets the same rival in the ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (2000m).
Baker concedes he’ll be giving away a start again but can’t expect anything other than to see him hitting the line strongly as he eyes a step up in distance next month.
“I’ve made no secret of the fact I think he is going to be a better horse over 2400m and there is a race over 2400m in two weeks that will suit,’’ he said.
“We always planned to get him closer in the run but he doesn’t have early speed and from 11 it is probably not going matter in the scheme of things.”
Frosty Rocks' last start at the Gold Coast on January 16
Meanwhile, Baker has pencilled in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 6 for the return of Samadoubt after his all the way barrier trial win earlier this week.
The seven-year-old, who won the Group 1 Winx Stakes in 2019 and hasn’t raced since Everest Day of that year, will trial again in February but Baker said the signs are good.
“He’s had a long time off, you’re getting out towards a year and a half, so I’m mindful of not going to the races underprepared,’’ he said.
“He didn’t get out of his comfort zone and didn’t have to be busted so it was as good a first trial we could hope for.
“He still looks like he has the zest for racing and he looked good doing it. I was thrilled to see him do that.”