Saint Bathans will attempt to bounce back to winning ways at Pukekohe on Saturday following an indifferent display at his most recent appearance.
The son of Maurice is trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman and will make his middle-distance debut in the Group 2 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m) with Craig Grylls booked for the ride.
Originally with Margaret Falconer, Saint Bathans made his first appearance for the Cambridge training duo and immediately took care of business with a resuming maiden victory over 1200m at Pukekohe.
The three-year-old then raced away to score at Tauranga before a trip to the Central Districts where he finished third over 1600m behind Hoard The Bourbon, who will again be a race rival.
“He was a bit disappointing last start when he pulled very, very hard and we’re just hoping he settles over the 2100m,” Baker said.
His performance in the Championship Stakes will decide the future direction of his campaign.
“We’ll see how he goes and decide after this race. Queensland is possible, but he would have to go really well,” Baker said.
His two-year-old stablemate Mr Maestro put himself into contention for the Listed Staphanos by Deep Impact Champagne Stakes (1600m) with a strong last-start victory at Avondale. He will again be partnered by Ryan Elliot.
“Mr Maestro is a nice individual and a really good three-year-old type. He should get the trip all right and this is pretty much it for his season,” Baker said.
He was purchased out of breeder Windsor Park Stud’s draft at Karaka for NZD$100,000 with Baker having enjoyed a host of previous black type success with the youngster’s family.
With Forsman, he trained Mr Maestro’s dam Let Me Roar to win six races and a third placing in the Group 2 Easter Stakes (1600m).
She is also a half-sister to the ill-fated Lion Tamer, who Baker prepared to claim the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and the Group 1 VRC Derby (2500m). He tragically suffered a fatal leg injury in the 2011 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
The third member of the stable’s black-type contenders on Saturday is the eight-year-old True Enough, who will take aim at the Group 3 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m) in which he will shoulder 59kg.
“He’s had the racing and is still carrying a big weight unfortunately, he’s weighted on past performances,” Baker said.
True Enough made a quick rise to the top when he was victorious in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) in 2019 and also placed at the elite level in the Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m), New Zealand Stakes (2000m) and the Captain Cook Stakes (1600m).
Unfortunately, the son of Nom Du Jeu subsequently suffered a leg injury that side-lined him for more than a year before he was back on track last month.
True Enough, who will be ridden by Jonathan Riddell, has failed to hit the mark so far this preparation, but Baker has been pleased with the gelding’s progress.
“We are happy enough with him and hoping he shows something on Saturday. He’s had three runs now and is ready to go,” he said.