By Ray Hickson
Trainer Bjorn Baker has always thought allowing Hinchbeast to stride is the way to bring out the youngster’s best and he hopes that asset can be used to advantage at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Hinchbeast steps beyond 1200m for the first time in the Exceedance @ Vinery Handicap (1400m) and that’s something Baker had always been keen to do in his second preparation.
Baker says ideally the gelding will step away cleanly, unlike in his first-up fifth behind Marboosha two weeks ago, and get into a rhythm on the speed.
“He was a little bit slow away but back to 1400m he should be able to put himself up there,’’ he said.
“We’ll look to be positive and put him in the race and I’m sure Nash (Rawiller) will figure it out. Back on the home track and up to 1400m is probably more his go.’’
In that first-up run, over 1100m, Hinchbeast was able to hold his ground and wasn’t passed by any horse in the straight once he worked into a midfield position after that slow getaway.
Baker said while no two-year-old race at this time of year is easy, with the final juvenile Group 1 of the season looming next month, he expects a more than competitive performance if he can get his way.
“It’s not an easy race when you look at it but his first-up run was good and I think the 1400m would suit him,’’ he said.
“He’s quite a big horse and he’s continued to develop and he looks really good at the moment, his work has been good as well.
“I think he has come back a better horse and his first-up run was good, I’ve no doubt he’s improved off that so he’s definitely not out of it.’’
Hinchbeast, $3.90 second favourite with TAB, holds a nomination for the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1400m) in Brisbane but Baker said he’d need to win for that to come onto the radar.
Baker has added blinkers to both Aussie and Moon Panther as they chase city wins of what the trainer says were moderate last start performances.
Aussie, a first-up winner at Gosford, didn’t run out the 1200m at Warwick Farm a fortnight ago but Baker is confident he can produce his best in the Schweppes Handicap (1000m).
“He was a tad disappointing last time but he’s found a good race,’’ he said.
“Whether he just didn’t fire or not I’m not sure but back to 1000m, he’s rock hard fit, we will use his speed to put him in the firing line.’’
Hinchbeast's first-up run at Warwick Farm on April 29
Moon Panther won at Orange a month ago then ran third at Hawkesbury last week and steps out in trip into the Sky Racing Active Handicap (2110m).
“I think he will appreciate a little bit further and hopefully the blinkers can sharpen him up,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Baker said Group 1 winner Samadoubt is recovering well from a tendon injury that ruled him out of the autumn and the rising seven-year-old will also sit out the spring.
Samadoubt won the Winx Stakes (1400m) back in August as a $31 chance then backed it up winning the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes.
“His recuperation is going okay and we will reassess in another few months and go from there,’’ Baker said.
“It’s a big ask to get him back from the tendon but who knows. You don’t know until the pressure goes on.
“We’d probably be looking for next autumn.”