Although rapt to notch an early season training treble, Bjorn Baker has quickly erred on the side of caution once Songlike and Irithea secured their first metropolitan wins at Canterbury.
Experienced black-type mare Lubiton then capped a successful meeting for Baker and his apprentice Jean Van Overmeire who celebrated his first city double.
Baker was surrounded by enthusiastic connections after Songlike claimed the Maiden Handicap (1100m) as the $1.95 favourite by a length over Showtime ($3.50).
“I know you all want to go to stakes races but she’s not quite the finished product. My feel is it’s better off to give her a really good break,” Baker said.
Baker had reason to peg back the hype given Songlike’s ambitious, and forgettable, debut in February’s Group Two Sweet Embrace Stakes in which she finished last, 23 lengths adrift of One More Honey.
“I’ve just got to think about where we go from here,” Baker said.
Her jockey Tim Clark endorsed his caution.
“She’s still a bit light, she’ll need to fill out a bit more but she’s a filly with good promise,” he said.
“She puts herself in the right spot and was able to control it, which probably isn’t easy to do today into a headwind so it probably adds a bit more merit to the win.”
Baker also urged restraint after four-year-old Irithea ($4.40) made it three in a row, winning a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m) by half a neck following a canny ride by Van Overmeire.
‘We’ll have a bit of think about what we’ll do with her. The best is yet to come, we may put her out for a break,” Baker said.
“She’s done really well. She’s a well-bred filly, beautifully picked out by Darby Racing. I’m lucky to have her.”
Although the margin looked tight Van Overmeire was confident down the straight.
“She done that quite easy. With 150 to go I thought I’ve got this in the bag quite comfortably.”
Van Overmeire claimed his first city win with the Baker-trained Samadoubt at Warwick Farm in June, and had $2 favourite Lubiton to thank for a historic double.
Resuming after an 18-week spell, Lubiton won the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1250m) by 2-1/4 lengths from Bring A Secret ($13).
“Hopefully she can go onto better things,” Baker said.
He said the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes at Wyong on September 1 was a possible goal.