Toowoomba trainer Steve Tregea calls Baqaba “a little bulldozer” and will be happy if his accident-prone sprinter completes his Doomben assignment without incident on Saturday.
Tregea is not confident Baqaba is ready to produce his best in the Jim Beam Open Handicap (1110m) in only his second start this campaign following a lengthy break from racing.
Baqaba, a Gary Geran mount, resumed after having more than a year off with injuries following his second to Shuffle The Cash in the Rockhampton Cup (1600m) in June last year.
“He won the Goldmarket Handicap at the Gold Coast in January last year but then lost all form in his next preparation,” Tregea said.
“I still can’t put my finger on why his form was off but he was 10 lengths below his best.
“I took him to Rockhampton after he failed in last year’s the Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich and he was a different horse.
“He won the Rocky Newmarket over 1300 metres so well I backed him up two days later in the Rocky Cup and he ran a good second.”
Tregea discovered Baqaba was proppy in his action while inspecting the gelding during his spell following his Rockhampton campaign and x-rays revealed he had a fractured pelvis.
“He had to have almost six months off to get over his pelvis injury but just as he was getting ready to go again he had another accident on the track here at Clifford Park,” Tregea said.
“He shied at a marquee a few days out from Weetwood Handicap day in March and slipped under the running rail.
“He had a hole in his stifle which was so big you could put your fist in and had to have another couple of months off.”
Tregea doesn’t doubt Baqaba’s toughness but expects the son of Easy Rocking to find his Doomben assignment a shade short.
“He’s tough and has no fear, that’s why he keeps crashing into things,” he said.
“He’s a like a little bulldozer.”
Tregea hopes Baqaba’s performances this campaign will earn him a shot at Brisbane’s summer series which begins with the Group Three George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben in December.
“I was getting him ready for the series last year when he hurt himself again and missed the series,” Tregea said.
“He loves Doomben and has a good record there but this race on Saturday may be too short.”
Baqaba, who didn’t start racing until he was a four-year-old, has started five times at Doomben for two wins and as many placings.