The Sunday after Samadoubt’s Winx Stakes win, Bjorn Baker was at the Sydney Fish Markets making sure “the curse of the prawn” wouldn’t afflict his stable for the next couple of years.
There is a tradition at Warwick Farm of group 1-winning trainers buying a feed of prawns and champagne to spread the joy with colleagues at the track, but Baker was a touch tardy when Music Magnate won his only other group 1 in 2016.
“I called it a hoodoo because I didn’t buy them straight away. I took quite a while,” Baker said. “I’ve had some good horses since but never got close in a group 1 for a few years.
“I thought, ‘Right, when I win my next one I’m going to keep everyone happy straight away and maybe it will be good karma’.
“We had a good feed on Monday because of Samadoubt.”
The first-up surprise group 1 winner heads back to Randwick for Saturday’s Chelmsford Stakes without the hoodoo on his back. He steps up to the 1600 metres, which it could be argued is a better trip for the free-going galloper, which has won twice at the mile.
The talk was that Samadoubt had stolen the group 1 with a great ride from Tim Clark, who is in the saddle again on Saturday, but Baker points to the race record time and that Samadoubt didn’t get it easy early on.
“There have been a lot of good horses win that race and none have gone quicker,” Baker said. “He didn’t get given the lead, he went 10.80 [seconds] from 1200m to 1000m. He had a couple of horses making him work and look where they finished.”
Group 1 winners Le Romain and Best Of Days kept Samadoubt honest for the first 400m after he jumped to the lead and then dropped out as Baker’s galloper found a second surge.
“He was still running good sections in front and it takes a good horse to take that early pressure and still produce a sprint like he did at the end,” Baker said. “He had good horses chasing him and didn’t get the credit he deserved
Samadoubt doesn’t have the luxury of an inside draw on Saturday. He will jump from the outside gate, but the game plan won’t change in a race were he looks the leader again.
“We are going to slide across and be somewhere near the front. He has the benefit of the fitness from that and you have to remember that he won over 2000m last time in,” Baker said.
‘He is going to be there for them all to chase again, but horses like Avilius, Unforgotten and Con Te Partiro are pretty good.”
Avilius, which ran the quickest last 600m in the Winx Stakes, has been made the $2.10 favourite for the group 2, while Samadoubt is a $9 hope.