Shane's treble takes his tally to 29
Lanky Australian trainer has a good day at the office on QE II Cup Day
Trainer Shane Baertschiger had a great day at the office on Queen Elizabeth II Cup Day on Sunday with three winners added to his tally.
After earning the first one through a successful objection with WINTERFELL, he went on to treble up the score with BIG MAN and SOLARIS SPECTRUM.
The Australian handler rued the one that got away - Ladrone, who was beaten a pimple by Lim's Shot after a classic heads-up heads-down joust the entire length of the straight - but could not complain about the bountiful harvest.
He currently sits in third place on the trainer's premiership table on 29 winners, 12 behind current leader Mark Walker. "Stretch", as he is popularly known, dismissed any thoughts about the title, just content with the way things are running at the stable.
"It's been a great day, but no, we are not going for the title," said Baertschiger, who took over his father Don's stables in 2012.
"It could have been four with Ladrone, but it's still a great result. I'm also happy Syafiq won a trophy race."
Baertschiger, who did not saddle any runner in the Group 1 QEII Cup (1,800m) later, was referring to his apprentice jockey Syafiq Hazman, who was aboard Solaris Spectrum in the race that brought up the hat-trick of wins, the $80,000 British Club Gallop 2017 Stakes, a Class 3 race over 1,400m.
In that event, he actually had two more runners, Dinghu Mountain (John Powell) and Flak Jacket (Matthew Kellady), with the former rated as his best chance ($18 favourite), no doubt on the strength of his impressive debut win. But it was the second fancy $73 shot Solaris Spectrum who came up trumps ahead of $208 smokie Flak Jacket while Dinghu Mountain could only run fifth.
Baertschiger went in with a very simple battle plan - control the race from the front and may the best one win.
Flak Jacket led from Solaris Spectrum while Dinghu Mountain box-seated to form a Baertschiger three-pronged diamond head. In the straight, both Flak Jacket and Solaris Spectrum gave a strong kick, but not Dinghu Mountain, who looked unable to muster an acceleration when the chips were down.
Well ridden by Syafiq, Solaris Spectrum showed a slightly stronger will to win as he gained the advantage on his stablemate, pushing on to fall in by three parts of a length from Flak Jacket, who lunged on the line to save his second spot by a nose from the fast-finishing Winning Cause (Nooresh Juglall) and hand his trainer the forecast.
The winning time was 1min 22.46sec for the 1,400m on the short course.
"It was the plan to have all three up there. If they can't win this, then they're no good, but one did and it's great," said Baertschiger.
"The drop from 56kg to 51kg helped. At the weights, he was a genuine chance. At his last start, he challenged Elite Excalibur but just got tired the last bit."
Baertschiger said Dinghu Mountain was a justified favourite in the race but the close interval between races might have put paid to his chances of back-to-back wins.
"I don't usually back up my horses, but Dinghu Mountain was backing up after two weeks and there was a bit of a concern there," he said.
"I did it because I'm trying to get him to the Derby. He still ran good."
Syafiq said Solaris Spectrum was a horse he knew well for having three times finished in the money on the Time Thief five-year-old from six rides.
"I know this horse well and I'm happy I've finally won on him, more so when it's my first trophy race," said Syafiq.
"It was the plan to have him in second position. Once I put him under pressure, he fired off very nicely."