Baquero looking for Jewels spot
By Garrick Knight
A niggly virus behind her, the connections of promising mare Baquero hope she can sneak in the back door to the Harness Jewels when she races at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
A win in the night’s opening $20,000 race would give her enough stake money to make the final field for the Group 1 $150,000 4YO Diamond at Addington on June 1.
And trainer Arna Donnelly says if it was to happen, she would travel south with stablemate In The Shadows to contest the race.
“If she did make it, I’d say we would go.
“She wouldn’t disgrace herself and she has a big group of owners behind her that would love to have a runner on the day.”
Baquero disappointed when fresh-up as a hot favourite at Cambridge last month, but was closer to the mark when running fourth at Auckland on April 26.
Donnelly says a healthier horse and a gear adjustment should see her go pretty close this week.
“She’s a funny horse; she gets viruses quite easily due to a low immune system.
“After her last run she scoped ordinary but then the other morning she scoped good after being hoppled.
“She seems back to herself and we’ve changed a bit of gear too.
“It’s a small field, and often those can be tricky, but Maurice (McKendry) knows what he’s doing.”
Stablemate In The Shadows is already in the 4YO Diamond field courtesy of a well-deserved premier night win two weeks ago when driven by Blair Orange.
This week she slots in to a $20,000 fillies and mares’ race where she looks well placed, alongside with Group 1-placed mare, Tiger Swift.
“On paper, she has to be a really good chance,” said Donnelly.
“She’s such an honest horse that tries her heart out every time.
“She’s the not the soundest horse around but seems to come out on race night and put all her little issues behind her.
“So, I can only admire how tough she is.”
On the Jewels, short of getting sick or injured, she’ll be on the plane south next week to link up with stablemate Double Rocket, who is already in Christchurch.
“She’ll definitely go; I think she deserves her chance.”
Double Rocket steps out at Addington on Friday night in what will be his last outing before tackling the Group 1 $150,000 3YO Emerald at the Jewels.
He tackles the $40,000 Sires Stakes Sophomore Classic and, despite a bad draw, Donnelly is optimistic.
“He had a wee freshen up after the Derby and I haven’t wanted to race him due to his rating (72) so he’s had two trials at Pukekohe instead.
“The first one was quiet but in the second one Scott (Phelan) let him run and he got home in 26 and a piece.
“He’s been down there ten days and apparently he worked super on Monday.”
Rounding out the Friday team is newcomer C K Spur, who contests a mid-grade trot at Alexandra Park.
He’s forged a handy record with previous trainers John and Joshua Dickie, but is now with Donnelly after his form tapered off over summer.
“He seems a lovely horse and we’ve been thrilled with both of his trials.
“At Pukekohe, Alicia (Harrison) drove him off about 40 metres and he made good ground.
“He ran his last half in something like 56.8.
“He’s trained on super since and we are really happy with him.”
A potential fourth Jewels runner for Donnelly is juvenile trotting filly Jazmin Royale, who was down to race on her home track last night, though would had to have gone very well to justify a trip south, according to her trainer.