Murray Baker Could Have 2013 Victoria Derby Contender

July 5th, 2013

Top New Zealand trainer Murray Baker has never been afraid to test his horses in Australia and he is eyeing off the 2013 Victoria Derby with untapped youngster Orion.

The rising three-year-old has had just one start to date but impressed when coming from last at the home turn to reel off an explosive finish and win the Manfreight Juvenile 2YO Maiden (1200m) at Te Rapa in March.

While four-time Group 1 winner It’s A Dundeel will obviously headline Baker’s spring brigade, the experienced horseman is hopeful that Orion can also make the step up to Group 1 level.

“We’ll just take it slowly with him and hope that he can measure up over in Melbourne,” Baker said.

Baker has indicated the Victoria Derby is very much on the son of O’Reilly’s radar if he can build on the potential he has shown at home and in his debut.

The Cambridge-based trainer knows what it takes to win the 2500m staying test, having taken out the race with Lion Tamer in 2010.

“You never know with these horses, he’s pretty stoutly bred on the dam side…“I’m not saying that he is anywhere near as good as horses like It’s A Dundeel or Lion Tamer, you have to bring these types over to Australia to see how they’ll go.”

Baker targeted the race with It’s A Dundeel last year but the superstar colt struggled at the end of a lengthy campaign to finish seventh.

But the son of High Chaparral returned in the autumn to claim Sydney’s Group 1 triple crown and appears primed to add more top-tier success to his resume this spring.

It’s A Dundeel will be aimed at the Cox Plate but is expected to tackle a number of Group 1 lead-ups including the recently elevated Memsie Stakes.

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