Baker Wants Second Look At Malkovich Before Testing Limits

We all know Malkovich is fast but now he’s a gelding could he turn into a more complete sprinter and extend his brilliance to 1200m?

Trainer Bjorn Baker (Pic: Bradley Photos)

That’s something trainer Bjorn Baker would like to find out but first he wants to see the five-year-old back up his first-up win when he heads to Scone for Saturday’s Listed $160,000 Arrowfield Ortensia Stakes (1100m).

Despite his speed and short course prowess, Malkovich had never won first-up prior to scoring in the Hawkesbury Gold Rush (1100m) three weeks ago and that gives Baker confidence he might have more to work with.

“He’s been a really good horse and he was super first-up, there’s no doubt about it,’’ he said.

“I think having a good break helped him revitalise. It was a big win and we’re obviously really happy with it, and I’d love to see him back it up.

“I haven’t completely given up on him getting 1200m. I know it’s strange to say.

“I’d love to see him go well then we will think about some options going forward.”

Baker has only tested Malkovich at 1200m twice in his 27 starts and they were both as a three-year-old and he finished unplaced.

A year ago, he started $5.50 in the Ortensia after running second at Hawkesbury but failed to fire on a soft track and his mixed spring form led to the decision to geld him.

Rachel King is reunited with Malkovich at Scone, they’ve paired for four of his eight wins, where he was $4.60 with TAB on Friday and he only rises 0.5kg on his first-up victory.

“There’s no doubt he’s got plenty of ability and Rachel has a good record on him,’’ he said.

“It’s definitely not straightforward but he’s an exciting horse to have and exciting to watch.”

Bring The Ransom is back to defend the Group 3 $200,000 Emirates Park Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) and Baker remains adamant she’s going better than her form reads.

A $51 winner of the race last year, Bring The Ransom is considered a much stronger chance in 2023 by the market coming out of races like Group 2 Emancipation and Group 1 Queen Of The Turf.

She finished midfield in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Crown (1300m) three weeks ago and Baker hopes she can react positively to racing in the blinkers for the first time.

“I think she is going better than ever and her runs have been good without a whole heap of luck,’’ he said.

“She’s got a good gate and Scone definitely suits her.

“She’s never had blinkers on in all her time racing so it’s something of interest and we’ll see how we go. She’s galloped in them and we’ve been happy.”

Among Baker’s other runners at Scone, he hopes Miss Jay Fox can also back-up a last start win in the Muswellbrook Ford Handicap (1100m).

The mare jumps from the inside alley which she took advantage of to score second-up over 1000m at Kensington on Anzac Day.

“She’ll get a good gun run but she probably needs all the favours,’’ Baker said.

“She generally gets better with a run or two so hopefully she can run well again.”

– Racing NSW

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