By Ray Hickson
Trainer Bjorn Baker has made very deliberate moves to this point with promising mare Belluci Babe but he’s stepping into the unknown at Randwick on Tuesday.
The four-year-old, a winner of three of her four starts, has never raced beyond 1000m or on a track worse than good so Baker will learn a lot about her in the ACY Securities Sprint (1100m).
“It’s no surprise to see her put together wins like she has,” Baker said.
“In saying that she gets up in the weights, it’s not an easy race, and she has to take another step.
“The track is a question mark but we have to find out at one stage or another. I’ve got a gut feel she’s pretty genuine and she’ll get through it to a degree.”
Belluci Babe debuted with an easy win at Kembla Grange back in January then resurfaced in late September and was beaten at $1.30 at Wyong.
But she shook off that defeat with impressive wins at Hawkesbury and Kensington.
The mare is a $2.30 favourite with TAB to continue her rise through the grades but Baker is wary that she rises 3.5kg.
Against that she’s versatile and has in-form jockey Jason Collett to ride.
Belluci Babe wins at Kensington on October 21
“She just sat off them the other day and it was good to see her switch off a touch, that’s a big positive for her,’’ he said.
“It’s just she's going up in the weights and against all comers so it is a test for her.”
Baker said while Belluci Babe took a bit of time before making her debut he expects her to make up for any lost time this season and if she can handle a soft to heavy track it only opens up options.
“She’s always been a nice looker, she’s handled everything and moved well,’’ he said.
“Her trials were good and her first win at Kembla was outstanding. She’s a lovely looking mare and her trackwork is excellent.
“She has a good bunch of owners, it’s about taking her through her classes but I’d like to think she is stakes class.”
Baker said he’s likely to reserve stablemate He’s A Hotshot, an encouraging first-up second at Warwick Farm last month, for a firmer track.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Missile will be out to atone for a shock defeat at Nowra a couple of weeks ago in the Heineken Handicap.
Wins at Bathurst and Orange saw the mare start $1.60 in a 1200m event at Nowra, she’s $14 at Randwick, but Baker said she had excuses and could surprise.
“I think she goes into the race a live chance,’’ he said.
“Her two wins were good but last time while she was a little bit plain she was caught deep and had to do a bit of work.”