After a memorable spring, jockey Stephen Baster will try to continue his run of success with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable in the Pakenham Cup.
Baster rode a host of winners during the Melbourne spring for the Waterhouse and Bott training partnership, highlighted by Pinot’s Group One VRC Oaks.
Pinot was one of four Melbourne Cup week wins for Baster at Flemington, and he has notched nine wins from his past 13 metropolitan rides for Waterhouse and Bott stretching back to Caulfield Guineas day in October.
“It was amazing,” Baster said.
“You expect to get a few winners but obviously this year their strike rate was amazing. The horses just kept winning.
“It definitely exceeded my expectations. I chip away every year and I’m pretty easily pleased, but this year was exceptional.”
Baster took particular satisfaction out of Pinot’s Oaks victory for Tulloch Lodge.
“I gave her a big rap to Gai a long way out and it was good that it paid off,” he said.
Baster has two rides for the stable on Saturday’s Pakenham Cup program including import Goodwood Zodiac who jumps up in class in the $250,000 Listed race.
Goodwood Zodiac has done his recent racing in Sydney and was close to a first Australian win when narrowly beaten in a 2700m benchmark-75 at Canterbury last start with 62kg.
“He had a lot of weight last start and did a good job I thought,” Baster said.
Baster rode Goodwood Zodiac in two unplaced runs in Melbourne in June in the import’s first Australian starts, but hasn’t been aboard the gelding in trackwork or races since.
“He was showing a fair bit on the (training) track when he was down here, but his runs were disappointing,” Baster said.
“Since then he’s gone up to Sydney and everything seems to have improved.”
Grey Lion is the $3.10 favourite ahead Oncidium Ruler ($3.80) and top weight De Little Engine ($6) who are all coming through the Ballarat Cup.
Goodwood Zodiac is at $9.
“De Little Engine was very good at Ballarat (finishing fourth). It was a slog of a race and he was solid late,” Baster said.
“He goes up to 60 kilos and Grey Lion is always threatening but doesn’t seem to find the line.
“They’re quality horses but I don’t see why my bloke, with 54 kilos, couldn’t be too far off them.”
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