By Ray Hickson
Quite often you hear a comment that a horse has come back ‘bigger and stronger’ but in spring surprise Samadoubt’s case he’s 'older and tougher'.
That at least is trainer Bjorn Baker’s theory as to why Samadoubt has transformed himself from a capable handicapper into a Group 1 weight-for-age winner.
The six-year-old is out become just the fifth horse to complete the Winx-Chelmsford and Group 1 Colgate Optic White Stakes (1600m) treble at Randwick on Saturday and join luminaries like Kingston Town, Lonhro, Winx the lesser heralded Purple Patch.
“We realised going into the Canberra Cup we worked him hard and he really thrived on it,’’ Baker said.
“So we’ve been a bit tougher on him than we have been in the past work wise.
“He’s always been a tricky horse to ride but we have a very good rider, Brandon Lerena from South Africa, and he gets on very well with him.
“He looks magnificent at the moment, I can’t fault him so fingers crossed he can run another good one.’’
Samadoubt won the Winx Stakes at $31, he took out the Chelmsford as a $10 chance and he’s a little more respected on Saturday at $6.50.
Will the gelding get all the favours in front a third time?
“I don’t think he was handed the Winx Stakes, he had to work at both ends of the race, and he came out and proved it was no fluke,’’ he said.
Baker admits he does have a small query about the heavy track, though any improvement in the surface would quell it a little, but points to a winner he trained at Warwick Farm earlier in the week as to what race fitness can do.
“If it was just a little bit of cut I wouldn’t be worried at all but on a heavy track it is a different ball game,’’ he said.
“Miss Einstein handled it a little bit weak but she was third-up and is probably looking for further so fitness on these wet tracks can’t be understated. And he’s fit.''
Another win and Baker will have to do plenty of thinking about where to aim Samadoubt – he’s not ruling out the Epsom, where he has 56.5kg, a trip to Melbourne or even the $1m The Gong at Kembla Grange in late November.
Samadoubt wins the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick on September 7
Baker trains the nation’s best maiden three-year-old in Let It Pour and says if she handles the ground he expects her to stretch Libertini and company in the Group 2 $200,000 Darley Tea Rose Stakes (1400m).
The filly finished third in the Silver Shadow and Furious Stakes at her past two starts, in the latter she clocked the fastest last 600m of the race in 32.81 (Punter's Intelligence), and Baker points to her trial form to say she’ll likely be fine in the wet.
“She’s under rated, she’s a light athletic filly out of a More Than Ready mare so I’m comfortable that she will handle it,’’ he said.
“She’s trialled on a heavy 8 where she came second and on a soft 7 she beat Exhilarates at Canterbury which was the first sign she might be a pretty good horse.
“I think she’s looking for 1400m and I couldn’t be any happier with her. I think she is a definite chance.’’
Let It Pour was a $19 chance with TAB on Friday. Of his other runnrs Baker said he expects Rodrico to be an improver on the heavy ground while Prime Candidate, a horse he’s a big fan of, is a wet track question mark but has the race fitness and a touch of quality to help him.