Lizzie L'Amour (Matt Cameron) makes it look easy as she races away with the Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa today.
Murray Baker’s Hall of Fame weekend was capped by yet another Group One victory as star middle-distance mare Lizzie L’Amour ran away with the $400,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa today.
Less than 24 hours after being inducted to the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame, the satisfaction for Baker and his training partner Andrew Forsman was clear to see as Lizzie L’Amour’s luckless Melbourne spring campaign was consigned to memory.
“For whatever reason nothing went her way,” said Baker, whose raft of achievements include a record 21 Group One wins in Australia by a Kiwi trainer. “She’s a class mare though, she’s been flying since she got home and it’s good to see her get the breaks and do the job.”
Long-time Baker stable associate Matt Cameron was able to ride the $2.20 favourite as the best horse in the weight-for-age 2000-metre contest, positioning her fourth in the clear behind a solid pace set by her stablemate Nicoletta.
As far as 600 metres from the finish it was obvious that Lizzie L’Amour was poised for victory as she cruised into the action and once heads were turned for home Cameron was able to let her loose. In no time the Zabeel mare had shot clear and by the post she had put five and a half lengths on her nearest pursuer, late closer Wildflower.
The runner-up had three-quarters of a length to spare over Nicoletta, who hardly flinched over the final stages to also claim a valuable Group One placings.
“She travelled well for me all the way,” said Cameron, who has ridden Lizzie L’Amour in all seven of her wins. “Over the final part I knew she had it won and tried to look at the big (infield) screen – where am I, how far in front? She’s won it so easily.”
A double at Te Rapa today has taken the Baker/Forsman stable's season to tally to 76, a lead of 30 on their way to defending their 2016-17 title. Lizzie L’Amour has an entry for the 3200-metre Auckland Cup in a month’s time, but she is more likely to be kept to shorter trips.
“I really think 2000 metres is her distance and she’ll probably go to the Bonecrusher (New Zealand Stakes) at Ellerslie,” Baker added.
“We’ll put in a nom for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (at the Sydney Championships) and see how she is when the time comes.”
While Lizzie L’Amour is doubtful for the Auckland Cup, it’s full steam ahead for runner-up Wildflower, who was dropping back in distance from her unlucky fourth in the 2400-metre Avondale Cup.
“She would never have beaten the winner but we’re rapt with that run,” said co-trainer Gavin Parker. “I’m not sure at this stage whether she’ll run again before Ellerslie, but her fitness levels are right up there and it might be a case of just ticking her over.”