Bring The Ransom is no stranger to springing a surprise and trainer Bjorn Baker is quietly confident the mare has another upset in her at Hawkesbury on Saturday.
Baker has been adamant all autumn that the six-year-old is feeling very well but she’s been dictated to by wide barriers in top mares company – that’s not going to be the case in the Group 3 $200,000 Pioneer Services Hawkesbury Crown (1300m).
The mare has been unwanted in betting this time in – she started $51 in her second-up sixth to Roots in the Group 2 Emancipation and $151 when eighth to Atishu in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf.
But the Warwick Farm trainer said both runs had merit and from gate two on a drier track he feels Bring The Ransom, at $16 with TAB on Wednesday, is a dark horse.
“We’ve been forced to go back. She’s been hindered by having to give away lengths,’’ he said.
“I’m not saying she would have been in the finish of her last couple but she would have been closer for sure.
“It was a brilliant run in the Queen Of The Turf under the circumstances, and we were thrilled with her.
“She hasn’t been helped by some of the wet tracks but she’s still run good races. I’ve got no doubt she’s better on top of the ground.”
Baker won last year’s Hawkesbury Crown with $26 chance Exotic Ruby.
Bring The Ransom has won eight races and 11 months ago posted her most important win in the Group 3 Dark Jewel (1400m) at Scone where she saluted at $51.
“I think she’s in great order, she looks fantastic. I don’t want to see her shorter than double figures, she likes to win when she’s bigger odds,’’ he said.
“She won her first start at 30/1 she won the Dark Jewel at 50/1. She pops up when it’s least expected.”
Speedy galloper Malkovich steps out for the first time as a gelding in the Listed $160,000 Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m) and Baker said the ‘gear change’ became necessary after a mixed spring.
He can only hope it has the same effect as it did on stablemate Overpass who won the $4m The Quokka in Perth last weekend at his debut as a gelding.
It’s not often you see talented horses gelded in their five-year-old year but Baker said it became clear Malkovich’s future would be on the racetrack.
“He didn’t come up quite as expected last preparation,’’ he said.
“On his best form he’s very good as we know, and sharp, he just ended up getting so heavy we thought it was best to geld him.
“He’s a much more athletic horse and we’re thrilled with how he’s been going.”
Malkovich has won both his barrier trials leading into his return to take his unbeaten run at the trials to 15 and came up with gate 12 for his return.