By Ray Hickson
A spring campaign is still a possibility for emerging stayer Harpo Marx but trainer Bjorn Baker says he’ll need to replicate his outstanding last start win when he returns to Rosehill on Saturday.
It’s not an impossible ask though as Baker is adamant the five-year-old is more effective on a firmer surface than the heavy ground he ploughed through when winning over 2000m at Randwick two weeks ago.
Harpo Marx, $2.60 favourite with TAB on Thursday, rises 1kg on that win after the claim for Tom Sherry in the Schweppes Handicap (2400m).
“I think the 2400m should suit and I always thought he’s better on top of the ground,’’ Baker said.
“It’s hard to get a line on how his win equates from a wet track to what will be a reasonable track on Saturday.
“But his form is good and he’s a born stayer and you can’t knock him from that point of view.”
The dominance of Harpo Marx’s latest win can be seen in the Punter’s Intelligence sectional data that showed his last 600m of 36.41 was six lengths faster than the next best in the race.
Baker said he is wary that the gelding is still racing in Benchmark 78 grade in July so isn’t getting ahead of himself thinking about the spring. He’s happy for the horse to convince him it’s worth it, though.
“It’s winter racing and you’ve got to be mindful of that,’’ he said.
“It’s a tough one to know how he measures up, if he did happen to win of course we have to look at better options.”
Stablemate Spencer failed in the Grafton Cup earlier this month but returns to the scene of his win five days prior to the country feature and Baker says he can improve.
“It was a big jump in grade but prior to that he was very good at Rosehill. Whether he leads or sits off the pace he’ll be up there somewhere so he’s not out of it,’’ he said.
Popular grey Frosty Rocks finally resumes in the Quayclean Handicap (1300m) after his planned return was washed out at Randwick two weeks ago.
Baker, in third place and one win behind James Cummings on the Sydney Trainers Premiership, is rapt with how the four-year-old has come up and kept him ticking over with a second behind Written Beauty in a Rosehill trial last week.
He's won two from four first-up, including last preparation over the Rosehill 1300m, and Baker said he's a pretty fit racehorse.
Harpo Marx wins at Randwick on July 10
“I’m really happy with him, he had a soft trial and he looks great,’’ he said.
“He’s definitely bigger and stronger and he’ll definitely lead. He has natural gate speed and I think he will be in a prominent position for most of the race.”
The Warwick Farm trainer sums up his other runners at Rosehill:
“Turnstyle was good last time and even though she has wet track form this time in I’m not too worried about her on a better track. Brazen Gem is looking for a better track and He’s A Hotshot is crying out for one. So drawn one he’s a chance. I thought Sir Crackle’s first-up run was good and drawn one on a better track he can improve.”