Baker Keen For Merc To Bob Up Again To Clinch Title

Bjorn Baker has his sights set on securing the BOBS horse of the year title with Iowna Merc at Randwick on Saturday – and if he does then next month’s Ramornie Handicap appears on the radar as a reward.

Trainer Bjorn Baker

The promising three-year-old has posted four wins this season, amassing $73,125 in BOBS bonuses to be a clear leader and a fifth in the Furphy Handicap (1100m) would surely put him beyond reach.

Iowna Merc staved off the challenge of Group winner Kibou two weeks ago to make it two from two as a gelding and Baker is avoiding a class rise by using a 3kg claim so he only rises 1.5kg on last start.

“He’s leading the BOBS premiership and it would be nice to put the nail in the coffin and try to win one more,’’ Baker said.

“At the moment the races are very competitive, full fields, and you’ve got to look at every option.

“There’s no easy races and when you look through it there’s plenty of horses with ability there.

“When he drew well it’s definitely a race we wanted to be involved with and Amy McLucas takes the 3kg off. “

The Warwick Farm trainer, who prepared five winners at the last Randwick meeting, said while Iowna Merc, $3.10 with TAB on Wednesday, has had a busy schedule already this campaign he’s bouncing through his runs well.

He said another win would earn the right to consider next month’s Listed $200,000 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton as an option to step up in class.

“I don’t think it will worry him too much back in distance, we haven’t had to do too much with him, and he’s been getting the job done so we can’t fault him from that respect,’’ he said.

“This is his third run in six weeks, he’s doing everything well and I’d love him to run well then maybe we can look at a race like the Ramornie.”

Stablemate Wingardium was hard in the market when resuming at Warwick Farm three weeks ago, beaten five lengths by Omni Man, but has been all but written off as a $26 chance.

Baker said the filly’s fresh performance was below expectation and she’s drawn wide but is wary that her first win was marked by a big finish from the back at Randwick so with a 4.5kg weight drop isn’t ruling her out.

“It’s not ideal but looking at the race there looks to be a bit of tempo so maybe she can relax and give her the option to finish off,’’ he said.

“I wouldn’t put a line through her, she’s definitely improved from her first-up run and gets into this race with no weight.”

Evergreen grey Fun Fact would achieve a milestone if he breaks through in the ACY Securities Stayer’s Cup (2600m) as he sits on $971,130 in prizemoney.

The seven-year-old, whose last win was back in October in Brisbane, showed a return to form with a game second at Kensington last week.

“I’d love him to feature, he’s just under the million dollar mark so it’d be fantastic if he could break through,’’ Baker said.

“It seems like he’s been around forever but he’s only seven. I was confident he’d run well last time, the 2600m is good for him and our aim will be if not leading to get to the lead at some stage.”

– Racing NSW

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