Bjorn Baker doesn’t anticipate gun mare Bonny O’Reilly gaining promotion to the Stradbroke Handicap, and now the focus is on overcoming a wide gate to extend her winning streak.
The four-year-old is an emergency for Saturday’s $1.5 million Group One race at Doomben and Baker does not expect her status to change.
“We are resigned to the fact Bonny O’Reilly will run in the Dane Ripper,” he said.
Baker had no regrets about putting Bonny O’Reilly in the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes last weekend rather than the Group Two Moreton Cup which offered the winner direct entry into the Stradbroke.
“I took the soft option but there’s no regrets,” he said. “What will be, will be.”
Baker’s focus is now on Bonny O’Reilly, the joint $4 favourite with Godolphin’s Raiment, defying a wide draw in the Group Two Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m).
She is likely to start from gate 13 after scratchings.
“She’s in super order but the wide draw will be a question mark for her,” Baker said.
Baker is still represented in the Stradbroke by Egyptian Symbol, with the four-year-old rated a $17 chance.
“It’s a tough race but she gets in with a good weight (53.5kg),” Baker said.
“She’s definitely not out of it.”
Baker also has several runners at Randwick, where Champagne Cuddles is a focal point as the filly attempts to go back-to-back after winning on debut in October.
Resuming after a 32-week spell after a fetlock chip was removed, Baker said the $2.80 favourite was in good order for the 2YO Plate (1000m) though she was encountering a heavy track for the first time.
“The heavy track is a bit of an unknown,” he said.
“I’m hoping her class carries her through. Her mother (Sky Cuddle) got through a wet track so that might be something.”