Bakers back for 2011 Melbourne Cup

New Zealand trainers Murray and Bjorn Baker began making plans for next year’s Melbourne Cup straight after watching Harris Tweed finish a good fifth in the 2010 edition yesterday.

Harris Tweed (5g Montjeu – Sally by Prized) also ran fifth in the 2009 Melbourne Cup and the Bakers will back next year with Lion Tamer who blasted his rivals away in the Victoria Derby on Saturday.

Lion Tamer was in a class of his own to win the Victoria Derby by more than six lengths.  The Bakers sent him to Sydney at the beginning of September to prepare for the race and everything fell into place on Saturday.

“It’s hard in New Zealand with the long winters to get young horses ready for the Victoria Derby,” Baker said.  “That’s why we sent Lion Tamer over early.  And the rain gave me confidence.”

Lion Tamer (3c Storming Home – Lioness by Generous) won the Ming Dynasty Quality at his first start in Australia and in his final prep finished second to Rekindled Interest in the AAMI Vase.

The Bakers have been training in tandem for just three years and experienced almost instant success when Nom Du Jeu won the 2008 AJC Australian Derby.

Their latest Derby colt is raced by veteran breeder Phil Bayly, a long-time supporter of Murray Baker and the owner of 1980 Melbourne Cup runner-up My Blue Denim.

Winning jockey Hugh Bowman said he was amazed at the ease with which Lion Tamer handled the Derby. “The blinkers have really switched him on,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when I put five on them.”

Lion Tamer is by former Darley shuttle sire Storming Home from a female line that traces back to My Blue Denim.  So does Harris Tweed.  My Blue Denim is the second dam of Lion Tamer’s unraced dam Lioness.