By Geoff Newling
Chloe Baker makes her Walcha debut at tomorrow’s Walcha Cup and the three kilogram claiming apprentice won‘t have to wait around long to receive a taste of the demanding and unique country track.
The 25-year-old apprentice, a qualified nurse, who has been riding just 10 months, kicks off a busy day in the very first race of the eight-race TAB program.
Baker, apprenticed to Wayne Wilkes at Taree and coming off a brilliant win in last Friday’s $70,000 Queen Of The North onboard Wilkes’ Shotgun Roulette, will jump the Bryan Dixon-trained Natonya from barrier eight in the $20,000 Kings Pharmacy/Walcha Vet Supplies Maiden Plate (1440m).
Dixon is normally based at Tambo in Central Queensland but with his father, Bryan senior, relocated part of their stable to Tamworth for three months while local racing is in recess.
Chloe also rides last start Tamworth winner Delagos for the Dixons in the second race, the $20,000 Peter Norbury Motors/Tony Williams Machinery Benchmark 55 Handicap (1700m).
Delagos was also nominated for the Cup but starts in this support race with Baker’s three kilo claim dropping the gelding’s weight to 57kg.
A race later she partners the Dean Mchardie-trained Liberty Mac in the $32,000 Woodie Wonder racing/OK Earthmoving Ron martin Memorial Maiden (1000m). They have drawn wide in 15 but will come out of 10.
Her fourth ride is in the inaugural $25,000 Stacks Law Firm Tamworth Lightning Handicap (1000m) where she partners Stephen Dixon’s Poets Trick.
They go from barrier five and Dixon, based at Tamworth, hopes she has the same effect on the six year-old gelding as she did on Mishani Istana at Tamworth on Monday.
Mishani Istana was having her 35th race start at Tamworth but had been winless with 11 placings.
Baker and the four-year-old mare mowed down favourite Arnemetia for a famous win prompting praise from Dixon at the time.
“She can ride this kid, she’s going to make the big time,” he said on Monday. Tamworth has also been a favourite and successful venue for Baker since she started riding.
Five of her 18 career wins have come at Tamworth where she has had two doubles and a win in 10 starts.
Last Monday’s second double, where she also rode Underground Blues to win a heat of the Rising Star for Dubbo trainer Connie Greig, could be the perfect springboard for the Taree apprentice into a tough first half of the Walcha Cup meeting.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Chloe said.
“I’ve heard a lot about the track. I’ve got some good rides.”