28 November 2016

BJORN Baker is optimistic his stunning run of Queensland success can continue as he targets the summer three-year-old triple crown races with Winning Rupert.

The Sydney trainer cracked his first Group 1 with Music Magnate in this year's Doomben 10,000 and has enjoyed plenty of other big race wins here including Unencumbered in the 2014 Magic Millions Classic.

Baker, a former Kiwi, will be a big player in Queensland this summer and unbeaten colt Winning Rupert will be his stable flag-bearer.

Winning Rupert was last seen taking out the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) at Doomben in May and will resume in a $100,000 3YO Plate (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

It will be his first step toward landing a $500,000 Queensland Summer Crown bonus culminating in the $1.5 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 14.

"I have had a lot of luck in Queensland in recent years and I hope my good run up there can continue this summer" Baker said.

"Winning Rupert is not the biggest horse, but he is well put together and he looks absolutely fabulous and ready to go."

Veteran Brisbane jockey Jeff Lloyd went to Sydney to ride Winning Rupert in a recent trial and he indicated the colt did everything required in a slender trial victory.

"He wasn't out there to have a gut-buster" Lloyd said.

"I was more worried about whether he has improved his racing manners. He was a little headstrong as a two-year-old, a bit colty and a bit cheeky but he seems to be a more mature horse mentally now."

In two race starts and five trials, Winning Rupert has been beaten once, in his first trial at Warwick Farm in April.

There had been some thought given to bringing him back for the recent spring, but that plan was abandoned in favour of a Queensland summer trip.

"He was a little bit ill at one stage so that ruled him out of a race like the Golden Rose" Baker said.

"And then the Queensland Summer Crown bonus was announced so I was very happy to take him north to the Sunshine State. Queensland has been a big part of the successes I have had as a trainer and my horses just seem to run very well up there."

Baker mare Egyptian Symbol, who ran an unlucky third in this year's Magic Millions 3YO Guineas, is likely to be back for the fillies and mares race on the rich Gold Coast race day next month.

Source: Ben Dorries, Courier Mail