Herne’s Oak will be given the chance to emulate the feat of one-time barn mate It’s A Dundeel with plans to put him on an Australian Derby path.
The Bjorn Baker-trained three-year-old showed his resilience when he backed up from a maiden victory at the Wyong Magic Millions meeting last Thursday to score at Warwick Farm on Christmas Eve.
It was a timely win given Herne’s Oak is by High Chaparral who was euthanised at Ireland’s Coolmore Stud earlier this week after he suffered a perforated intestine.
High Chaparral is also the sire of It’s A Dundeel who won six Group One races for Baker’s father Murray.
It’s A Dundeel stayed at Bjorn Baker’s Warwick Farm stable during his Sydney campaigns and the trainer identified several parallels between the now-retired superstar and Herne’s Oak, not least of all their physical similarity.
“They’re similar sorts of horses and Herne’s Oak always had a few resemblances to him when It’s A Dundeel was in the stable in the autumn,” Baker’s foreman James Clarke said.
“Ideally, the Derby will be the target. He’s got to go to another level but he’s going the right way.”
Herne’s Oak trailed the leader in the TAB Place Multi Handicap and sprinted quickly for Brenton Avdulla to score by 1-1/4 lengths from Redoutable Heart.
Avdulla believes the colt has a future but says he is still learning how to be a racehorse.
“He probably reminds me a bit of me when I was 17 or 18 in the big, bright lights and doing everything else other than what I should have been,” Avdulla said.
“I’ve had a lot of time for him from day dot.”
Godolphin filly Hebden was also to the fore at Warwick Farm with a gritty win in the Testa Rossa @ Vinery Handicap.
In a race tipped to prove a good form reference, Hebden got the better of race leader Freeze The Charges before holding off the late dive of Kipling.
Her win landed Sam Clipperton a race-to-race double after his success on the David Lee-trained Episodes and continued the jockey’s run of form for Godolphin.