Training newcomer Shane Baertschiger gang tackles the $200,000 Group 3 Magic Millions Juvenile Championship over 1200m on Sunday.
Baertschiger only commenced training duties in March and will saddle three runners in what is just the second feature juvenile race of the year.
With the “babies” about to turn three, the Juvenile Championship is the last chance for the two-year-olds to gain “black type” before their birthday.
Harden Up under Jackie Low winning on debut last month, picture Singapore Turf Club
Baertschiger has 15 two-year-olds on his books from a stable that is full with 60 horses, but to date has only produced six of his youngsters on raceday.
Having trained a winner at his first meeting with Reddy To Rock on March 2, Baertschiger landed his first “trophy” when El Milagro took out The New Paper Trophy last week.
But it is the “black type” races that trainers like to have on their resumes and Baertschiger will have three chances at cracking it for his first Group race success on Sunday when he saddles Harden Up (John Powell), Holy Empire (Alan Munro) and One Smart Cat (Jacky Low).
Wednesday’s barrier draw wasn’t all that kind to Baertschiger’s three runners who all drew towards the middle of the field and with the rail out in the ‘C’ course (nine metres from the true position) it will take luck in running for him to land his first Group victory.
But Baertschiger has certainly not conceded defeat and believes all three gallopers will give a good account of themselves.
Harden Up will wear a tongue tie for the first time after he got his tongue over the bit at his last start when finishing last in Class 4 company on July 1.
That followed a debut win on the Polytrack over 1200m on June 10 in Restricted Maiden grade by a comfortable three-and-three-quarter lengths.
Interestingly Powell takes over the reins from Jacky Low on the two-year-old.
“Johnny had the choice between this one and Holy Empire,” said Baertschiger. “He decided on him after trackwork the other day.
“He won his first start quite impressively and then he got his tongue over the bit last time and dropped out after racing forward.
“We’ve put a tongue tie on him this time but the barrier has certainly made his task a bit harder.
“Still if he gets some luck in the run I’m sure he’ll run a great race.”
Baertschiger had Barend Vorster engaged for debut winner Holy Empire but released him from the ride following the impressive debut win of Super Kenny for Patrick Shaw last week.
Holy Empire scored by a neck over Golden Sand Steed over 1100m on the Polytrack on June 22 when ridden by Vorster and has impressed Baertschiger since.
“I could have held him (Vorster) to the ride but in the end I didn’t think it was the right thing to be doing,” said Baertschiger. “Luckily I was able to get Alan Munro to ride him.
“He trialled well behind Niceone last week and his gallop on Tuesday was good also.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he was the one. He has really come on since his first run and it was only his ability that got him home that day.”
Baertschiger said his third galloper One Smart Cat could be a blowout contender provided there was good pace in the race.
The two-year-old will wear winkers for the first time after filling placings behind Goodpack over 1200m on June 22 and Flag Of Command on July 15.
“He ran well at his first start then at his second start he didn’t handle the track. There was also a bias to front runners that day,” said Baertschiger.
“I also think he’s wanting further now. He’s a half-brother to Olympic Win which won the Sandown Cup (3200m) in Melbourne last year.
“If they happen to go hard and something is to get over the top of them late, then he could be the one.
“He’s still a bit green so we’ve decided to put the winkers on and hopefully they may sharpen him up.”