Better joy on homefront for stable

Gesemi and Matt Cameron coasting to the finish an easy winner of the first race today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Gesemi and Matt Cameron coasting to the finish an easy winner of the first race today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Murray Baker had no joy in Brisbane with his Queensland Derby prospect Harry, but there was some good news for his stable coming out of the team’s attack on today’s Ellerslie meeting.

Baker is in Brisbane, where he watched Harry make his Australian debut in the Gr.3 A$150,000 Grand Prix Stakes at Doomben. Facing his toughest test, Harry settled among the tailenders and failed to threaten, finishing 12th behind the Peter Moody-trained winner Upham, a son of Windsor Park sire Mastercraftsman.

However, well before Harry had gone to the start for the 2020-metre lead-up to the Queensland Derby, Baker had the good news of another couple of wins for his stable with Gesemi and Chill Bill taking the first two events at the Ellerslie meeting.

Gesemi, a four-year-old daughter of Ekraar, ploughed through the testing Ellerslie footing to win the first race, the Bidvest 2400, by five and a half lengths from Secretary Of State, then Chill Bill unleashed a determined bid down the outside to get a half-length win in the Armitage Mile.

The two wins edged Baker and Andrew Forsman’s stable closer to a century of wins for the season, Chill Bill’s victory being the 96th.

Ridden by Matt Cameron, Gesemi was backed into hot favouritism and was simply a class above her six rivals over the 2400-metre trip, a distance over which she had finished third on a Dead4 track at Te Rapa two starts earlier.

She took her record to five wins from 13 starts and completed a staying double, having beaten Thee Achiever at Waipa on a Heavy11 track 10 days earlier. That form took on more importance when Thee Achiever was a midweek winner at Ruakaka.

Gesemi had control on straightening for the run home and was out on her own over the final stages, suggesting she could be a Cups winner over the winter months.

“She almost travelled too well and put herself there sooner than we wanted,” said Forsman. “She’s got a habit of doing that, improving quickly and hitting the front too soon. But when they’re travelling in this ground you can’t hold them up.”

While Gesemi was expected to win the first event, Forsman had some reservations over Chill Bill’s chances second-up.

“He looks a bit soft condition-wise,” said Forsman before the race. “That’s my only worry, that he might need one more to reach peak fitness. But his formline through this time last year is good.”

Chill Bill defeating Secret's Out at Ellerslie today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Chill Bill defeating Secret’s Out at Ellerslie today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Forsman need not have worried as Chill Bill finished strongly in the hands of Danielle Johnson to overhaul Secret’s Only inside the final 80 metres to record his eighth win from 33 starts.

Chill Bill, a close relation of Auckland Cup winner Able Master, has shown a liking for wet tracks with all of his wins coming on slow or heavy footing and he can be looked upon to give his trainers further success over the winter months.

Get That Jive, a two-year-old from the Baker – Forsman team, tried hard to give the stable its 18th New Zealand black-type win for the season when runner-up in the day’s feature, the Listed Graeme Thomson Jewellers Great Northern Foal Stakes.

Though no match for the winner Secret Spirit over the final stages when going down by two and a half lengths, Get That Jive’s performance was full of merit. He was drawn the inside and, though Cameron did his best to get him away from the worst of the going, he couldn’t get to the outside where the going was better.

The way Get That Jive fought back after looking likely to miss a stake-bearing placing halfway down the home straight augurs well for his future. He could be a top three-year-old in the making.