Baquero to debut


Promising three-year-old filly Baquero makes her much-anticipated debut at Alexandra Park on Friday night for Cambridge trainer Arna Donnelly.

The daughter of Shadow Play has had clockers rubbing their eyes in recent workouts, running back-to-back sub-27sec second quarters under a hold at Pukekohe.

Both times she was driven cold by Scott Phelan and charged home late to finish close-up to the winner.

Donnelly was pleasantly surprised by the times, though the performances only confirmed what she already knew about the filly.

“I’d like to think she’s got a bit of a future going on what she did in those workouts.

“She’s still a bit of a work in progress and has got a lot to learn, but the ability is there.”

For her debut she meets an even field of maiden fillies and mares.

She’s drawn the middle of the front row and Donnelly believes snagging her back to midfield and taking cover is the most prudent move.

“I’d say that will be the plan, we don’t want to be busting her off the gate.

“She’s a highly-strung filly at times so she’ll just take a sit this week and hopefully get a good run home.”

Donnelly’s chances in the race don’t end there, either – she also lines up the Vintage Master mare Spritz, co-owned by father Brent.

She’s had two starts and has impressed both times, the most recent a handy third on her home track on September 7.

“I’ve got a lot of time for her. She probably needed that run last start and I reckon if she was cherry ripe she would have won.

“But she had missed a little bit of work and that was the difference. She’s drawn to suit on the second line this week as she likes to run the gate a bit so it’s probably better that she just gets a nice sit.

“She shouldn’t be too far away from them, either, and she is probably a little bit better the Auckland way around.”

Gold Spur debuts in the maiden-front trot with her owner, stable junior driver Mark Johnson, in the cart.

He has been underwhelming at recent workouts and is probably lacking in ringcraft, according to Donnelly.

 “If he gets round in one piece, we’ll be really happy.”

Glenferrie Duster has been a good addition since joining Donnelly from Terry and Glenys Chmiel’s Canterbury barn at the start of winter.

This week he’s drawn one, but meets a good field, including the exciting three-year-old Rubens.

“He’s got a little bit of gate speed and that’s his greatest attribute. If he can secure a trail and get a nice suck along, he’s a good place chance.”

Donnelly takes the veteran No Way Else back to Auckland after he ran third at bolters’ odds last week and says the “funny little horse” is capable of repeating the effort this week

She also has three horses – Eldolar, Hudy Haxwell and Imajollywally – in to take on gun three-year-old Aramis and classy mare Valor Lustre in the first on the card.

Completing the big team on the night is the six-year-old maiden pacer, Inky King, but Donnelly identified Baquero and Spritz as her two best chances on the night.

BEST BET   Rubens (R5)

LONGSHOT Happy Magic (R6)