By Glenn Davis
Trainer Bjorn Baker has given punters a lead with his preference for in-form mare Irithea over stablemate Redouble in their bid for Group 1 glory in the Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Baker will revert to a proven formula with Redouble who will wear blinkers for the first time since his Magic Millions Cup win at the Gold Coast in January but he holds a slight preference for five-year-old mare Irithea.
“On their recent form I’m just giving Irithea a slight edge over Redouble,” Baker said.
Irithea will become only the fifth mare to win the Kingsford-Smith Cup, formerly known as the BTC Cup, since it switched to weight-for-age in 1991.
If successful she will be in elite company, joining previous successful mares Black Caviar (2011), Gee I Jane (2006), Staging (1999) and Seawinne (1995).
Irithea has won seven of her 23 starts and is coming off a last start win in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Crown on April 27 while Redouble finished fourth to Trekking at his last appearance in the Listed Luskin Star at Scone on May 11.
“They’ll both need to be at their top in this as it’s a hard race,” Baker said.
“Irithea’s win at Hawkesbury was great and she’s going as well as ever.
“She always puts her best foot forward. I know she’s a five-year-old mare but she’s never gone better.”
Baker, who announced the retirement this week of his Doomben 10,000 winner Music Magnate, is hoping blinkers will boost Redouble’s chances.
“He hasn’t worn them since he won the Magic Millions Cup and he just switched off a little at his last run at Scone,” he said.
“His work has been very good and hopefully the blinkers will give him a length or two improvement.”
Meanwhile Baker has made a late decision to send Fun Fact north for the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m).
Like Redouble, Fun Fact was entered for Randwick on Saturday before Baker made a late decision to run at Eagle Farm.
Fun Fact won a Benchmark race over 1600 metres at Warwick Farm two weeks ago and will head to the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm next month if successful.
“He’s in good order and if he runs well, we’ve got the Derby up there as an option for him next start,” Baker said.
“His last win at Warwick Farm was very good and he’s in good order and Michael Cahill has been booked.”
In latest markets for the Grand Prix, Fun Fact, a four times winner in 18 starts, is a $12 chance and a $51 chance in the Queensland Derby.
Racing Queensland webnews May 24