Baccarat Baby booked a ticket to Melbourne for the spring carnival after her first-up win in the Gallopers Sports Club Handicap at Eagle Farm.
Trainer David Vandyke said the $1 million Group One Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) for fillies and mares at Flemington on Derby Day will be her ultimate aim.
“She was on trial today for a trip down south and she’s certainly earned it with that win,” Vandyke said.
“I ran her in the Flight Stakes just over a year ago and she acquitted herself well. She was unlucky there and was only beaten three quarters of a length and that’s when we knew we had a serious Group horse on our hands.
“She should relish the 1600 metres at Flemington.”
Vandyke rated Baccarat Baby “90 per cent” fit going into Saturday’s 1200m assignment.
“It was a very tradesman-like performance. She had good cover, she was behind the two leaders and when she had that cosy run I expected her to do what she did,” he said.
Winning jockey Michael Hellyear is eager to maintain his association with Baccarat Baby having ridden the mare in 14 of her 16 starts for seven wins.
“I think I’ve already booked my ticket so hopefully David doesn’t make me cancel the flight,” Hellyer said.
Baccarat Baby ($3.20) settled in third spot on the fence before Hellyer brought her with a well-timed finish in the straight to win by a long neck from Deploy ($4.20) with the $2.30 favourite Scallopini a neck away third.
Vandyke is eyeing another Group One target in Melbourne next Saturday with Alligator Blood, a leading contender for the 2019 Caulfield Guineas.