By Ray Hickson
Trainer Bjorn Baker is an unabashed fan of up and coming three-year-old Ocean Emperor and is happy to predict he has a rosy future.
But he admits he’s asking a bit of the Written Tycoon gelding at his fourth start to take on the Listed $200,000 AMD Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Ocean Emperor has won two of his three starts, including a win over older horses first-up at Wyong, so Baker is happy enough to test the water.
“There’s no doubt we are throwing him in the deep end on Saturday,’’ he said.
“The top two on benchmark ratings are standouts but he is well and he had a soft trial after his win, he has a good gate and Jason (Collett) is riding so well.
“I think he will get to this level but whether he is quite ready for it is the big question mark.”
Baker knows something about the Written Tycoon progeny – the trainer’s first solo Group 1 winner Music Magnate and his boom sprinter Winning Rupert were both sons of that stallion.
So what is it about Ocean Emperor that has Baker so enamoured?
“He has a lovely big stride, I think he is the type of Written Tycoon that is going to continue to get better with time,’’ he said.
“He still has a fairly big frame and still has to fill out into it but he has a great attitude.”
The gelding was an $8.50 chance with TAB in the Crowley on Thursday with another emerging sprinter in The Bopper at the top of the market ($3.10) and Baker said his horse can take advantage of a favourable draw.
“We’ll leave it up to Jason and see how he jumps, he has tactical speed but eventually I think he will be better just relaxing and switching off,’’ he said.
The Warwick Farm trainer has refocused Positive Peace’s preparation after a failure in the Angst Stakes over a mile two weeks ago.
The five-year-old is back sharply in trip from a mile into the Group 3 $200,000 Daily Press Nivison (1200m) and Baker is expecting a forward showing and a pointer to her next target which is the Group 2 Hot Danish Stakes (1400m) on November 7.
“She was disappointing the other day but since then she’s worked really well,’’ Baker said.
“She had the tongue tie on in her work on Thursday. She's a class horse, she was unlucky in the Golden Pendant the start before, the 1200m is a little on the short side but it’ll set her up well for the Hot Danish.
“We will roll forward and hopefully she can put herself in the first three or four and be strong at the end.”
Ocean Emperor wins at Wyong on October 1
There’s also aims beyond Saturday’s meeting for both Spencer and Edison so Baker warns there’s improvement in both out of their respective assignments.
Spencer, who hasn’t raced since the Wyong Cup, returns in the Robrick Lodge Filante Handicap (1400m) with the Listed Ladies Day Cup (1600m) at Hawkesbry on November 5 his aim.
Edison is Magic Millions bound and kicks off in a strong Southern Cross Handicap (1200m) after successive wins on heavy tracks in the winter.
“I’ve always had the impression he is better on top of the ground, it’s a big ask first-up but we have to kick him off somewhere,’’ Baker said.