The wisdom of Bjorn Baker’s decision to open an Australian stable was put into a financial perspective when Mr Tipsy and Havana Rey continued the former New Zealand trainer’s end-of-season streak on Saturday.
Mr Tipsy, backing up after winning at Rosehill last week, took an inside run to beat Sour Mash in the Markey Saddlery Handicap (2200m) to give the 34-year-old Baker his first double as a trainer.
“He’s a very special horse for the family and it’s just great he was part of my first double,” Baker said.
“I was just as confident about him today as I was last week because he was just as good.”
Apprentice Lauri Wray drove Mr Tipsy ($12) along the fence and he finished too well for Sour Mash to win by a long neck.
Despite the significance of Mr Tipsy’s win, Havana Rey’s all-the-way victory under jockey Glyn Schofield in the Pluck @ Vinery Handicap (1600m) confirmed Baker’s decision to relocate and set up base in Sydney last year is turning out to be the right one.
“With the BOBS bonus this is probably the equivalent to winning a $150,000 race back home in New Zealand,” Baker, the son of leading Kiwi trainer Murray Baker, said.
“It’s taken time to get established but any doubts about moving over aren’t there now with stakes like this.
“I’ve got to pinch myself sometimes.”
Havana Rey was a first-up Warwick Farm winner but dropped back in distance from an unplaced 1900m run at Rosehill last month.
The three-year-old was allowed to set an even tempo and he kicked strongly for Schofield to beat Flying Zero ($5.50) by 2-1/4 lengths with Disciple ($18) another 1-1/4 lengths away third.
Baker said Havana Rey came from a modest background to become a flag bearer for his Warwick Farm stable.
“I’ve got a lot to thank Havana Rey for,” Baker said.
“He came from a pre-trainer in Orange and I didn’t know a lot about him.
“He was my first Saturday winner here and he’s won three city races so I owe him a lot.”
Havana Rey carried $6 to $5.50 support and the result was never in doubt as Schofield was allowed to dictate his own speed.
He shook off the second favourite Hendricus with a minimum of fuss before clearing out to leave the Chris Waller-trained stablemates Flying Zero and Disciple to fight out the placings ahead of the favourite Sindarin ($3.70).