Irithea dashed away inside the final 200m to win the Hawkesbury Crown. Picture: Getty Images
Irithea dashed away inside the final 200m to win the Hawkesbury Crown. Picture: Getty Images

Baker tempted to give Irithea a tilt at the Stradbroke

IRITHEA broke through at stakes level and trainer Bjorn Baker broke his Hawkesbury  drought on Saturday.

"I've never had much luck this Hawkesbury meeting but the wait was worth it because Irithea is a very good mare,'' Baker said.

"She deserved her stakes win and I actually believe she is getting better.''

The talented Irithea ($3.70) led throughout in the Hawkesbury Crown (1300m) to win by a length from Multaja ($3 favourite), with Manicure ($4.40) nearly three lengths away third.

"She is five-year-old mare and it is not often you say a five-year-old keeps improving, but I was confident at the start of her preparation she was going better than ever,'' Baker said.

"Her first-up run (second to White Moss in the Sapphire Stakes at Randwick) showed she was going really well.

"Josh (Parr) knows this mare very well and he rode her beautifully. They were able to sneak away on the corner and this mare doesn't stop - she is a very game mare.''

Irithea scored her seventh win from 23 starts and took her prizemoney over the $500,000 barrier with her Hawkesbury Crown success.

Josh Parr produced a well-judged ride on Irithea. Picture: Getty Images
Josh Parr produced a well-judged ride on Irithea. Picture: Getty Images

Parr said Irithea performed at her best when she could find the front and dictate the race tempo.

"She is a much better mare if she finds the front, establishes a good tempo because her bulldog-like qualities stand her in good stead,'' Parr said.

Irithea gave Parr his third win in the Hawkesbury Crown after earlier successes with Serenissima (2010) and Pecans last year.

"After her really good second behind White Moss, we were all quite confident today, especially if she found the front because her tenacity takes her a long way," he said.

The Hawkesbury Crown is the logical lead-up to the Group 3 $180,000 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone in two weeks but Baker wasn't so sure.

"I will have a bit of a think about it,'' Baker said.

"We might go straight to Queensland and give her a few weeks between runs.

"I would not mind nominating for the Stradbroke Handicap with her. She would get in with a lightweight and be hard to beat.''

Pecans did get held up momentarily at the top of the straight before working home well without threatening to finish fifth, beaten just under five lengths.

Aqua D'ivina jumped sideways and lost considerable ground at the start. She was six lengths behind the second-last horse in the field on settling down then eventually caught the field by the turn before finishing seventh, beaten less than six lengths.

News Corp Australia

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