Bjorn Baker credits a change of scenery for the purple patch of form being enjoyed by recent acquisition Cantonese.
The gelding, who will step out in Saturday’s Ascend Sales Trophies Handicap (2000m) at Rosehill, has won four of his past five starts.
At his only other two runs since joining Baker’s team in September he has managed minor placings.
But Baker refuses to take credit for rejuvenating the five-year-old’s fortunes, instead saying his solid form was probably a result of him enjoying the facilities at Warwick Farm.
“Maybe the change of environment,” Baker said.
“Warwick Farm has great training facilities. He enjoys a bit of variety, getting out in the middle of the track and on the trails.”
Also a key to his recent performances has been mature-aged apprentice Jenny Duggan.
She has ridden Cantonese – who had won just one of his 12 starts prior to joining Baker’s stable – to all four victories under his new trainer.
Duggan will again partner him on Saturday before beginning a careless riding suspension.
Cantonese kicked off his current campaign in June and his Rosehill run will be his 12th this time in.
Despite the heavy workload, Baker said his charge had continued to thrive.
“He’s really well. It’s something like his twelfth run this time in work but he couldn’t be better,” Baker said.
“He’s stepping up in grade but as he gets up in the ratings he has to.
“His last run over 2000 metres at Rosehill was good and I’m pretty confident he’ll run well.”
Saturday’s race is shaping as a good test for Cantonese.
Among his rivals is the Peter Moody-trained Soros who followed two encouraging runs back from a spell with an impressive last start victory at Warwick Farm.
He was favourite with TAB fixed odds on Thursday at $3, ahead of Cantonese and the Chris Waller-trained Moriarty both at $4.80.
Iggi Pop, a $6.50 chance from the John O’Shea stable, also looks to have strong claims.
She was beaten less than three lengths when fourth to Polish Knight in the Group Two Tulloch Stakes in the autumn, should strip fitter for two runs back from a spell and gets out to a more suitable trip.
O’Shea will also saddle up debutante Rock Dreaming in the opening race.
By sire of the moment Fastnet Rock, Rock Dreaming is the first foal out of O’Shea’s former handy racemare and stakeswinner Nediyms Dream.
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