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The Chosen One ready for Caulfield Cup task

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Less than twenty-four hours on from a stunning Group Two victory by The Chosen One at Caulfield on Saturday afternoon, co-trainer Murray Baker is already thinking ahead to next weekend where his charge will try to pull off an even greater triumph.

Baker, who prepares the Savabeel four-year-old in partnership with Andrew Forsman, has his sights firmly set on taking out his second Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) after success with Mongolian Khan in 2015.

The Chosen One gained automatic entry into the Caulfield feature with his victory in the Gr.2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) with Baker reporting his charge had pulled up in fine fettle after the performance.

"I stopped in and saw him at the stables on my way to the airport and he looks great," Baker said.

"I think the most pleasing part of Saturday’s race was the way he attacked the line and was strong at the finish.

"He proved that he gets the 2400m well and that was a very good horse (Prince Of Arran) that he beat.

"We will monitor him over the next few days but there is no reason why he can’t take his place in the Cup next weekend and with his light weight (52kgs) he looks to have a good chance.

"We’ve booked Stephen Baster for the ride and he has done well for us before including a win on Jon Snow in the JRA Cup (Gr.3, 2040m)."

Baker was quick to admit he had been left scratching his head over The Chosen One’s lacklustre performance at his previous run where he finished well back in the Gr.1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) after an eye-catching run for fifth at Moonee Valley to open his Australian campaign.

"It would be fair to say we have done a bit of soul searching about that Underwood Stakes run," Baker said.

"I don’t have any reasons as to why he went the way he did as his work had been good and we thought he would put up a good performance.

"He has trained on well since then so we went into Saturday with some cautious optimism that the real horse would stand up and thankfully he did."

While not inclined to get ahead of himself Baker still has thoughts about the next step for the Chosen One post the Caulfield Cup, with a start in the Gr.1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) looming as a serious possibility.

"Our focus is on The Caulfield Cup but if he was to run well there then the possibility of a start at Flemington will become more of a reality," he said.

"I would think he will improve sharply up the ratings after his win on Saturday but I guess the biggest question is whether he will get a true 3200m.

"Everything suggests he will, as his run in the Australian Derby (2400m) was tremendous last season when he was wide and kept coming. "He franked that with his win in the Frank Packer Plate (Gr.3, 2000m) after that, so I think after Saturday’s performance you would like to think he might stretch out to the two miles of the Cup."

The Chosen One currently lies 68th in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup with an allotted handicap of 51.5kgs, with handicapper Greg Carpenter to make a decision on Monday whether his Herbert Power victory warrants a Melbourne Cup penalty.

Baker was also pleased with a gritty effort from stablemate Madison County who finished seventh in the Gr.1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) after sitting three-wide throughout.

"We’ve been a little bit behind the eight ball with him coming out of the New Zealand winter," he said.

"He just needs racing and I think there is still plenty of improvement in him.

"He’s had to carry equal topweight and sit out wide most of the way so I thought he went a pretty good race.

"We haven’t really thought about the next step but we will sit down in the next few days and put some more thought into that." 

- NZ Racing Desk

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