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Baccarat Baby books start for Sydney Group 1

By Glenn Davis

Talented filly Baccarat Baby booked a trip to Sydney for the Group 1 Flight Stakes later this month with a decisive win at Doomben on Saturday.

Stepping up to Saturday city grade for the first time since her debut, Baccarat Baby stretched her winning sequence to five with a three-quarter length win over Aileach in the Sky Thoroughbred Central QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1600m).

Thunderous Strike battled on well for third, a further half length away.

Baccarat Baby’s win was her fifth from six starts and continued trainer David Vandyke's outstanding strike rate with his 19th win from his past 47 starters.

Her only defeat was on debut when she finished third to Mishani Hustler at Doomben in February.

Baccarat Baby was ridden by Michael Hellyer who kept his unblemished record in tact with his fourth win on the daughter of Casino Prince.

Vandyke has been battling ‘flu all week but the win proved a perfect tonic.

“Michael had to go too soon on her after he copped a check at the 600 metres so it was a big win,” Vandyke said.

“With 59kgs off a slow pace it was a very good performance to come from last.

“She had to win if she was to go south for the Flight Stakes.”

The Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) will be run at Randwick on September 29.

Vandyke confirmed Hellyer will partner the filly in the Flight Stakes.

“It’ll be a big thrill for Michael to ride her in Sydney and it’s a big thrill for her connections who bred her,” he said.

Baccarat Baby never went through a sale ring and was bred by her owners Martin and Peter Harris and Matthew Irwin.

“She’s won five in a row now so she deserves a crack at the big time,” Vandyke said.

Meanwhile Stella Victoria gave birthday boy Rob Heathcote his second winner of the day in the Class Three Plate (1350m).

Stella Victoria, ridden by premier jockey Jeff Lloyd, led most of the way to down Man Of Choice by 2-1/4 lengths with Mr Bellagio third, a similar margin way.

Heathcote, who turned 59 on Saturday, earlier won with Kubis in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (2200m).

Heathcote has a good opinion of Stella Victoria who has three wins and nine placings from 18 starts.

“I think she’s capable of winning a Stakes race during the summer carnival,” Heathcote said.

“She came to me from David Payne in Sydney midway through the Brisbane winter carnival and she ran in The Roses over 2000 metres.

“It was a big effort stepping up from her first up run over 1000 metres to win over 1350 metres second up.”

Stella Victoria is part-owned by one of Heathcote’s long-time supporters Wilf Mula, a former Australian Turf Club committeeman, who made a special trip from Sydney to watch the mare’s win.

Racing Queensland webnews  September 15