Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker is looking forward to a couple of multi-million dollar wins with his Testa Rossa gallopers Unencumbered and Twilight Royale.
Twilight Royale galloped between races at Scone on Saturday whilst Unencumbered looked a cut above his Magic Millions rivals with an authoritative victory in the G3 B J McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday. Bookmakers reacted by promoting the Testa Rossa colt to a clear $4 favourite for the $2 million Magic Millions Classic on January 11.
Baker tried to keep the hype to a minimum after Unencumbered’s win. “We’re not getting too carried away – there will be horses coming from Sydney,” he said. “But we are on the Gold Coast now and I just hope things continue to go well in the lead up to the Magic Millions.”
Unencumbered (2c Testa Rossa – Blizzardly by More Than Ready) was a $70,000 buy for Baker from the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions. Blizzardly was bred by Vinery and she was a precocious juvenile winning the LR Keith Mackay Stakes at Randwick.
“He’s a real professional and was just too good for them,” jockey Nathan Berry said. “If anything, he got to the lead too early in the straight. He will be better if ridden further back off the speed.”
Vinery sire Testa Rossa won the 1999 Magic Millions Classic and he has 14 yearlings catalogued for the 2014 Gold Coast Magic Millions yearling sale starting on January 8. He stood at Vinery for a $27,500 (inc gst) this year although that fee could well be increased for 2014.
Baker and Testa Rossa have formed a remarkable partnership in recent times which stands to reap the young Warwick Farm trainer a potential windfall in the coming months.
“They’re good horses these Testa Rossa’s.” commented Baker following Twilight Royale’s weekend gallop.
Baker’s gun filly Twilight Royale (Testa Rossa – Royal Season) won last season’s Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and is in line for a massive $2.8 million pay day should she win the Inglis Scone 3YO Guineas in May. In addition to the $400,000 first prize, Twilight Royale is eligible for a $2.4 million bonus if she can win the Inglis Scone Guineas (1600m) in May.
Twilight Royale has already amassed nearly $500,000 from her seven starts to date, notably from the $250,000 Inglis 2yo race at Mornington last February en route to defeating Shamus Award in the Group II VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 9 with those two races forming the first two legs of the Inglis triple crown series.
Baker paid $45,000 for Twilight Royale at the 2012 Melbourne yearling sale and he has understandably elected to bypass the Autumn and try to win the lucrative bonus.
“She has been in pre-training with Rod Northam at Scone and had a gallop between races at Scone on Saturday, by all accounts she’s going really well.” Baker told Sport RSN.
“She’s there to get a feel of the track ahead of the Inglis race so that’s one of our objectives ticked off and she’ll go back to the paddock on Monday for a couple of weeks.” Baker said.
Twilight Royale disappointed in two starts in Sydney during the Spring and Baker opted to stop rather than press on.
“Everything since the Spring has been aimed at the Scone race and to get her there in the best possible condition. She’s developed physically, which she needed to.”