Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker declared Havana Rey his “favourite horse” after the gelding capped a memorable day for the Baker family by winning the Group II Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
“He was my first Australian winner when I moved over from New Zealand, he’s my first Saturday winner, he’s won five city races and now he’s my first stakes winner,” Baker said.
“It’s been a great day for our family after It’s A Dundeel won the [Rosehill] Guineas for dad [Murray].”
Baker said he wasn’t confident about Havana Rey’s prospects on Tuesday morning after the gelding put in a “very, very average” track gallop. “I debated if to run him but it’s a funny game this horse racing game,” he said.
Havana Rey was rated to perfection by jockey Glyn Schofield, who was able to steal easy sectionals for the first 1000 metres before a finishing burst that never had him in danger of being run down.
Havana Rey ($6) defeated the Chris Waller-trained Riva De Lago ($12) by a length with Monton ($9), from the Ron Quinton stable, a half head away in third.
Baker said Havana Rey would now be given his chance to become his trainer’s first Group I win since being based in Australia in the $2 million Group I Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 20.
(From www.racenet.com.au – Clinton Payne Saturday, 30 March 2013)