Fab­u­lous Baker Boy

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Ali Kuchel [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

THE best coun­try race­horse lives right here in Gat­ton.

Bren­ton An­drew’s geld­ing Baker Boy put Gat­ton in the spot­light when he won the in­au­gu­ral Coun­try Cup Cham­pi­onship.

Ren­dered voice­less from cheer­ing his horse home, An­drew was ec­static with the vic­tory.

RAC­ING: Listed in the field as the sec­ond emer­gency, there was a chance Bren­ton An­drew’s horse Baker Boy was not go­ing to get a start in the Coun­try Cup’s fi­nal.

The eight-year-old geld­ing had run in sev­eral heats lead­ing up to Satur­day’s fea­ture race at Doomben, only to be pipped at the line.

But when two horses were scratched, giv­ing the Gat­ton com­bi­na­tion the green light, there was no hold­ing them back.

With 19–1 odds, Baker Boy stormed to vic­tory in the 1600m Coun­try Cup fi­nal on Satur­day rid­den by jockey Ron Ste­wart, award­ing An­drew his sec­ond Satur­day-city vic­tory.

An­drew de­scribed the jour­ney as a “fairy­tale” af­ter over­com­ing in­juries and chal­lenges just to gain a place in the start­ing field on the day.

“There were own­ers (of Baker Boy) just jump­ing on one an­other, one of the own­ers gave me a man cud­dle,” An­drew said.

He praised Ste­wart for the ride, say­ing it was a 10-out-of-10 per­for­mance.

“He drew a bad bar­rier, but our plan was to go for­ward,” An­drew said.

“He crossed to the lead then let a cou­ple horses pass but ended up with a beau­ti­ful run.

“You couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter ride.”

The vic­tory was An­drew’s sec­ond Satur­day win at Doomben.

The Coun­try Cups Chal­lenge in­cluded 16 non-tab races from Septem­ber 22 to Novem­ber 17 across Queens­land, aim­ing to bring the best coun­try horses to the city.

Horses gained a place in the fi­nal by win­ning one of the 16 heats and hav­ing raced in at least three non-tab races in the past 12 months.

Baker Boy gained his emer­gency ac­cep­tance when he fin­ished third at the Kumbia Cup, with first and sec­ond fail­ing to meet the en­try re­quire­ments.

An­drew said the Coun­try Cup Chal­lenge was a great con­cept that gained a lot of at­ten­tion through­out the rac­ing com­mu­nity.

“The in­dus­try is start­ing to re­alise if you don’t have grass­roots rac­ing, there’s no rac­ing … it’s like any code,” he said.

“It proves to ev­ery­one you can win city races with a coun­try trainer.

“You don’t have to have a horse trained in Bris­bane to get the same re­sults.”

How­ever, four months ago Baker Boy’s rac­ing ca­reer was nearly cut short when he crashed into a fence, frac­tur­ing his skull.

An­drew lost count how many stitches the horse had and feared the he would not race again.

Baker Boy has since made a full re­cov­ery and has only a small scar re­main­ing from the in­ci­dent.

“He’s got a habit of con­tin­u­ally hurt­ing him­self,” An­drew said.

“But he’s got a kind na­ture, he means well and al­ways tries his heart out.”

Baker Boy ar­rived at An­drew’s Gat­ton sta­bles three years ago, hav­ing pre­vi­ously raced in Mel­bourne.

An­drew plans to step the geld­ing up to 1600m races in the fu­ture.

PHO­TOS: ALI KUCHEL & NOEL PASCOE/RQ

ON A WIN­NER: Bren­ton An­drew's Baker Boy, rid­den by Ron Ste­wart takes out the in­au­gu­ral Coun­try Cups Chal­lenge at Doomben.

PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

WIN­NERS: Bren­ton An­drew with his race­horse, Coun­try Cup Chal­lenge win­ner Baker Boy.

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