Stable aiming for two Cup hopes

Murray Baker33 (640x630)

Leading trainers Murray Baker (pictured) and Andrew Forsman are this weekend looking to seal a start for a second representative in the Gr. 2 $200,000 Platinum Homes Wellington Cup at Trentham on Saturday week.

Last weekend they produced Maygrove to finish a nose second behind Just The Tip in the Listed Gallagher Marton Cup at Awapuni and it was a performance which has seen him firm into second favourite for the 2400-metre Wellington Cup at $6, just $1 behind the early favourite Graphic, who won last year’s event and was also a runner-up last weekend.

Right down the betting order at odds of 40/1 is Maygrove’s stablemate Decorah, whose odds will tumble markedly if she lives up to Baker’s expectations in the Gr. 3 $70,000 Mills Reef Winery Trentham Stakes (2100m) on Saturday.

A daughter of Pins, Decorah has won five of her 25 starts all up to 1600 metres with her most recent win being over the metric mile at Ellerslie last October.

After a further placing at the distance – a third to The Tidy Express, Baker and Forsman have stepped Decorah up to middle-distances in her last three starts and the mare has been luckless.

She was back in the field then off the track in the Gr. 3 Counties Cup (2100m) and was doing her best work over the final stages to finish eighth, three lengths from the winner, Noble Warrior. She then followed that up with a solid third to Surpass in the Gr. 3 Waikato Times Gold Cup after having to switch ground in the final stages.

That Waikato Times Gold Cup form is solid as Surpass and Delago’s Secret (fifth in the Te Rapa feature) fought out the Gr. 2 Scot Thrust City Of Auckland Cup with the latter getting the decision. Third home in the Ellerslie event was Show The World, who had run fifth in the Waikato Times Gold Cup.

Delveen and Nothing Trivial have both been winners since contesting the Waikato Cup. Delveen (sixth at Te Rapa) won at Ellerslie last weekend and Nothing Trivial (seventh at Te Rapa) went on to win the Thames Cup.

But it is Decorah’s latest run, and worst staying placing this campaign when 13th in the City Of Auckland Cup, which has Baker convinced she is a strong chance in the Trentham Stakes and a worthy Wellington Cup candidate.

“She had no luck at all in the City Of Auckland,” said Baker. “She never got a run in the straight and got put out of the race.”

Decorah was blocked for a run on straightening then hampered by the riderless The Fire Inside, extinguishing any chances she had and leaving rider Craig Grylls with no option but to ease her down.

Decorah can bounce back to her best form in the Trentham Stakes with Matt Cameron in the saddle and, if she does, she will give Baker and Forsman their ninth black-type win for the season, just one fewer than their personal record tally recorded two seasons ago.

The stable is flying, leading the premiership with 53 wins, and has some strong chances of adding to the tally by the weekend with two horses apiece entered for Matamata on Friday and Te Rapa on Saturday and three at Trentham.

Joining Decorah on the Wellington-bound float will be Benoit (Vernon and Vazey 2YO Premier) and Genius. Benoit, an Australian-bred daughter of Domesday, won second-up at Woodville on January 3, cruising clear over the final stages to score by almost three lengths. She will be ridden by Opie Bosson this weekend.

Genius, a last-start winner at Hawera, is in the twilight of her racing career, being in foal, and her trainers are keen to add to her record of three wins.