Trainer Bjorn Baker and jockey Kerrin McEvoy continued their late-season surge of city winners when they combined with War Eternal in the Royal Randwick opener on Saturday.
War Eternal finished strongly to run down early leader Revivalist in a thrilling finish to the Schweppes Handicap (1400m).
This was Baker’s 55th city success for the season, lifting him to outright second on the Sydney trainers’ premiership behind only Chris Waller on 155 wins.
“We have had our eye on getting up to second in the premiership,’’ Baker said.
“If you said at the start of the season we were a chance of finishing second, I would have laughed at you.
“The stable has been going very well through winter, it’s been a good season. We’ve had plenty of luck with Kerrin – I think the last four rides he has had for us have been winners.’’
War Eternal just gets there on the line to take out the first for @BBakerRacing & @KPMcEvoy 👌 pic.twitter.com/pNWzlzzyS1
Baker has prepared a brace of winners at three successive metropolitan meeting prior to Randwick and his tally of wins is only one short of his career-best tally he recorded last season.
McEvoy, Sydney’s leading jockey for prizemoney won this season with his mounts earning more than $15m including big race triumphs with Classique Legend (The Everest), Probabeel (Epsom Handicap) and Hungry Heart (ATC Australian Oaks), has been in brilliant form this July with War Eternal his seventh city winner.
The champion jockey has ridden 46 winners for the season and vaulted to seventh in the Sydney premiership.
“I’ve had a bit of success the last couple of weeks and it’s good to finish the season off strongly,’’ McEvoy said.
“I was planning to take some time off with the family this month but with the pandemic, obviously we can’t go anywhere so I will keep going for now.
“Maybe I might take a Wednesday off but I am keen to take this momentum into the new season.’’
Bjorn Baker is now one win short of equalling his career-best tally following the win of War Eternal. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
War Eternal ($3.60), cleverly ridden by McEvoy, wore down early leader Revivalist ($8.50) to win by a short-head with Honeycreeper ($2.20 favourite) a length away third.
McEvoy was mindful of the very blustery conditions and rode War Eternal with cover until well into the straight.
“It was quite windy out there, especially down the side you‘re galloping into it,” McEvoy said.
“Bjorn said maybe just look for a leader if you can get one, just to get a little bit of cover from the wind.
“It was a steadily run race and we took a little bit of organising getting into the clear but I like the way that he rallied the last five or six hops. He did angle a little bit left up the straight but he was getting the hand of it near the line.
“He was strong through the last bit and I think there‘s a bit more to come once he really works out what it’s all about.
“He‘s not an overly big horse but he’s got something there to work with for Bjorn and the team.”
War Eternal is a son of former champion and now leading Coolmore sire Pierro out of the Fastnet Rock mare Aleria who Baker purchased for $160,000 at the Karaka Sales in New Zealand.
“He was from the Cambridge Stud draft and I liked him a lot as a yearling,’’ Baker said.
“Although he is not a big colt, he’s strong and determined.’’
War Eternal is part-owned by Carl Holt who is having a sensational year with the likes of Doomben Cup winner Zaaki and The TAB Everest hopeful Lost And Running.
“Carl is a great supporter of Sydney racing and I think War Eternal is only the second horse after Lost And Running to win at Randwick in his colours,’’ Baker said.
“War Eternal is a promising horse and I think he will get over further. It’s not easy to win a Saturday two-year-old race at Randwick because the competition is so strong so this colt has a future.’’
Originally published asBaker continues winter surge with 2YO winner
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