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Baccarat Baby to spoil Goldolphin's early summer bid

By Glenn Davis

Trainer David Vandyke believes rival Exhilarates is overdue for a breakthrough win past 1200 metres but hopes it won’t come in the Listed Just Now at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Vandyke has named the Godolphin four-year-old as the major threat to his main hope Baccarat Baby in the 1300-metre feature.

Vandyke also will saddle up former Victorian mare Splendoronthegrass who will be ridden by Stephanie Thornton.

Baccarat Baby, a Ryan Maloney mount, made her summer comeback finishing sixth to the Tony Gollan-trained Sugar Boom over 1000 metres at the Sunshine Coast last month.

“She wasn’t really suited over 1000 metres but it was still a great run,” Vandyke said.

“Getting out to 1300 metres is a big plus for her and she likes Eagle Farm.

“I think she’s a good chance but the favourite Exhilarates will be very hard to beat as she gets good ratings in every race she goes around in.

“I can’t see any problem with Exhilarates running 1300 metres and she’ll win past 1200 metres for sure but hopefully not tomorrow.”

There is little doubt Exhilarates - a Glen Boiss mount - will handle the 1300-metre trip with ease despite not winning past 1200 metres.

At her only three attempts beyond 1200 metres, Exhilarates finished second in the Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast in January and second in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic at Eagle Farm in May.

She then was beaten five lengths finishing in front of only three runners in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in June.


The James Cummings-trained Exhilarates is a $4.00 favourite in TAB fixed betting following her last start victory in the Listed MSS Security over 1200 metres at Flemington on November 3.

Baccarat Baby is next in betting at $6.50 while Splendoronthegrass is a $7.50 chance.

Splendoronthegrass was having her first start for Vandyke when she won an 1100-metre Class Four at Ipswich on November 25.

“Splendoronthegrass will run a good race but she has to prove she’s up to this class while Baccarat Baby is a proven Stakes performer,” Vandyke said.

Baccarat Baby has competed well at the highest-level finishing fifth to Kiwi star Melody Belle in the Group 1 Empire Rose at Flemington in November last year which followed a creditable sixth in the Group 2 Tristarc at Caulfield.

The daughter of Casino Prince won the Listed Princess Stakes on a heavy track at the Sunshine Coast in April last year before claiming the three-year-old Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas.

As well, Baccarat Baby ran second in last year’s Group 2 Queensland Guineas and Group 3 Fred Best Classic and was again placed in this year’s Listed Wayne Wilson at the Sunshine Coast and Group 3 Sapphire Stakes at Doomben in June.