Baker Enjoys Double Strike at Te Rapa

Baker enjoys double strike at Te Rapa

Cambridge trainer Murray Baker celebrated a weekend double at Te Rapa after the well-bred mare Jeu de Cartes followed the earlier winning lead of her two-year-old stablemate Decorah.
A daughter of Stravinsky, Jeu de Cartes bounced back to her best in the open handicap after she had been an uncharacteristic last-start failure in last month’s Gr 3 Hawke’s Bay Cup.
“We think she’s a pretty good mare, but unfortunately she was ridden upside down there and that’s the way it goes sometime,” Baker said. “She’ll be even better as a five-year-old and hopefully win a black type race — it’s a slow-maturing breed.”
Baker trained Jeu de Cartes’ mother Prized Gem who was a high-class staying mare and won the Gr 1 Kelt Capital Stakes and the Gr 1 Brisbane Cup Stakes and her outstanding son Nom du Jeu. He beat the best across the Tasman in the Gr 1 Australian Derby and retired as the winner of more than $2.6 million.
The winner of six of her 16 starts and Gr 2 placed in the Japan Trophy, Jeu de Cartes was ridden by Matthew Cameron. “We had a good trip from a wide draw and got the split in the straight and she worked right into it nicely,” he said.
Stablemate Decorah showed impressive improvement from her debut fifth on the track to trump her two-year-old rivals in a driving finish for rider Sam Spratt.
“She was suited by the cut in the ground and kicked well at the finish,” Baker said. “I hope she’s a staying three-year-old — she hardly beat a horse at the trials and only showed it when we took her to the races.”
By Pins, Decorah is out of the stakes placed Generous mare Nordic Dancer and hails from the family of one of New Zealand’s finest gallopers in the multiple Gr 1 winner Rough Habit (Queensland Derby, Doomben Cup-three times, Stradbroke Handicap-twice, All-Aged Stakes-twice, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Caulfield Stakes, Captain Cook Stakes).
Decorah raced close to the pace and showed admirable fighting qualities in the run home to down Dorian Gray by a nose. “She got headed a few times, but she really impressed me by the way she dug deep,” Spratt said.