His dad might have got the big prize of the day but Bjorn Baker couldn’t let him have all the glory as he saddled up Havana Rey to win the $175,000 Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Two races after the Murray Baker-trained It’s A Dundeel (NZ) dominated the Rosehill Guineas, son Bjorn was also in the winners circle after Havana Rey led throughout to score the important Doncaster Mile lead-up.
Havana Rey and Glyn Schofield, picture Sportpix.com.au
Ridden by Glyn Schofield, Havana Rey jumped well from a wide draw and Schofield set his sights straight for the lead and from that position he was impossible to run down.
After getting a breather mid-race, Schofield stoked up Havana Rey around the turn and the gelding kicked on straightening.
Midway down the straight he shifted out but after getting a comfortable run in front he still had plenty left in the tank and held his rivals at bay over the final half furlong to score.
At the line the margin was a length to Riva De Lago (Brown) with a long head to Monton (Reith) in third. The overall time was 1.29.63 with the last 600m run in 34.6.
“He has been a very special horse,” Baker said. “He only galloped average on Tuesday so I was debating whether we come here, but it is a funny game, this horse racing game.
“He makes his own luck and that is crucial, he was either going to lead or be outside the lead. I said to Glyn I didn’t really want to lead but he knows the horse better than me and it worked out perfectly.
“He is my first city winner, my first Saturday winner, I think he has won five Saturday races and my first group winner in Sydney, in my own right.”
“After the first furlong I thought he was going to keep running through the bridle, like he can do sometimes,” Schofield said.
“But he came back to me beautifully around the corner and let me refill the tanks as much as I wanted and he found plenty when he needed to.”
Havana Rey is by King Cugat (USA) out of the King Of Kings (IRE) mare Dydeedoe and is owned by C J Dawson, Miss J L Cracknell, P M Ryan & D P Croke. His record now stands at seven wins and four minors from 20 starts with prizemoney totalling $536,130.
The Chris Waller-trained Arinosa won the $125,000 Listed Ascend Sales Birthday Card Stakes (1200m)
Ridden by Brenton Avdulla, Arinosa came with a strong finish down the middle of the Rosehill track to score a comfortable win.
Havan Rey photofinish, by ATC
Arinosa photofinish, by ATC