Proud father after Doomben 10,000 win

Bjorn Baker, who training career started in Cambridge and is now skyrocketing in Sydney.

Bjorn Baker, whose training career started in Cambridge and is now skyrocketing in Sydney.

Murray Baker had to settle for a couple of minor placings from his stable yesterday, but there was plenty to celebrate after the Gr. 1 $A800,000 Doomben 10,000 in Queensland.

Baker and training partner Andrew Forsman picked up Ellerslie placings with Craftyeva (second) and Scamp (third), while in Queensland Baker’s son, Bjorn, recorded his first “solo” Group One win with Music Magnate in the 1350-metre feature.

“A Group One – it’s just great,” said Baker. “This horse has had a few problems but I always had the winter in mind and we deliberately gave him an easy autumn.”

Bjorn Baker enjoyed many notable wins during his three years training at Cambridge in partnership with his father with the biggest highlight being Lion Tamer’s win in the Gr. 1 Victoria Derby.

Footage of Baker’s sheer delight as he bounced across the Flemington birdcage cheering on Lion Tamer in the pouring rain has often been replayed on both sides of the Tasman. He also got a huge thrill when taking Nom du Jeu to Sydney for his father to win the Australian Derby.

“It’s great for him,” said Baker’s proud father after watching Music Magnate win the Doomben 10,000. “He’s looked after him and he’s got the money. I rang him just as he was catching the plane back to Sydney. He’s going great over there.”

Bjorn Baker made the decision to branch out on his own account in 2011 and took a huge gamble setting up in the highly competitive Sydney scene, moving into a stable on the Warwick Farm racecourse.

Gradually he built up his team and two years ago he hit the headlines when his two-year-old Unencumbered won the $A2 million Magic Millions Classic in Brisbane in the hands of the late Nathan Berry.

With top staff behind him, Baker has climbed to a new level this season with his stable constantly churning out winners. He has not been afraid to travel outside the local circuit with horses, pinpointing suitable races for his charges, and very seldom has he returned without success.

He won the Albury Guineas with Rosaleisha in mid-March and six days later picked up the Gosford Guineas with Lady Sniper. And recently within a fortnight he recorded 12 wins.

It is this placement of his horses which has seen Baker climb into third on the New South Wales Trainers’ Premiership with 106 wins and over $A3.28 million in prizemoney. Chris Waller and John O’Shea, who both have far larger teams of quality horses, are ahead of Baker on the premiership with 187 and 120.5 wins respectively, while Peter and Paul Snowden are in fourth spot.

Music Magnate (Kerrin McEvoy) winning the Doomben 10,000.

Music Magnate (Kerrin McEvoy) winning the Doomben 10,000.

Baker is in just his fourth season of training in Sydney and to be ahead of some of the greats of Sydney racing, including Gai Waterhouse, is an impressive achievement. And it reads even better when taking into account the Australian Trainers’ Premiership, on which he sits sixth with 113 wins and $A4.4 million in stakes.

As well as Unencumbered and his Group One star, Music Magnate, Baker’s list of top performers include Imposing Lass, Twilight Royale, Havana Rey (one of his early stars) and Lady Sniper.

Imposing Lass had recorded four wins and two placings from six starts and kicked off the Queensland Winter Carnival in style for Baker with victory in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet when ridden by former Kiwi jockey Jason Collett. Imposing Lass then followed up with a sound third in the Gr. 2 Doomben Roses.

Next weekend Imposing Lass will attempt to complete a Group One Queensland double for Baker when she contests the $A500,000 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm.

But now all eyes are on Music Magnate, who took his record to six wins and five placings from 12 starts and boosted his earnings beyond $A825,000 with yesterday’s major win. Two starts earlier he had won the Gr. 3 Hall Mark Stakes at Randwick and, though beaten into second in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes at Scone, Baker was confident he was ready for yesterday’s assignment.

Music Magnate has constantly improved and Baker admits he wasn’t impressed by him as a young horse.

“To be frank he didn’t show me much as a two-year-old,” he said. “But I have a lot of time for the Written Tycoon breed and he is another one who can really gallop.

“We decided to miss most of the autumn and I thought he was well set up to run a good effort today.”