Trainer Bjorn Baker’s pitch for another Grand Prix chequered flag

Cox PlateOn first glance there is a ring to the name and, as a result, there has to be more to it when punters see Imezaaki in the form guide.

However, outside of the dam’s name spelt backwards – sort of, the gelding has a completely unrelated to Zaaki chance to create a higher profile of his own at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Bjorn Baker has travels horses from his Sydney base with significant success at the highest level particularly recently in Melbourne and Perth, and he is hoping that Imezaaki can notch another victory for his stable in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2100m) for three-year-olds.

Imezaaki is a rated a $7 chance for the Queensland Summer Carnival feature after his last-to-first victory in a benchmark 64 event over 2000-metres at Hawkesbury earlier this month against older horses.

That win had Baker thinking that there could be more to this son of Cox Plate-winner Ocean Park.

“He’s a horse I’ve always that I’ve always thought a lot of,” Baker said.

“It looks like he’s going to like it over further so the 2100-metres should suit on Saturday.”

Imezaaki won his maiden two starts back at Goulburn over 1300-metres in November and then followed-up with a third placing at Scone over a mile nine days later.

It is a step up taking on a black-type feature but as Baker, who won the Grand Prix Stakes with Fun Fact in 2019, says the gelding deserves the chance with possibly more to come.

The 2022 version of this event, the fourth to be run in December after being moved from June as a major lead-up to the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m), was won by Derby-victor Kovalica.

Before that in 2021, subsequent Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) winner Gypsy Goddess strode to victory for trainer David Vandyke.

While the 2023 running is looking unlikely to unearth the same level of talent, Imezaaki is rated a $7 chance on Saturday with the Tony Gollan-trained Felix The Scat the $2.90 favourite.

Imezaaki is drawn to jump from barrier four.

“With a good gate and Ben Thompson to ride, he can put him in his comfort zone early,” Baker added.

“He’s got bigger and better and is a relaxed customer, so the last time was definitely a good effort against older horses.”

While the naming is somewhat of a red herring in association to the star Zaaki, the mare Kazemi – trained in Victoria by John McArdle – had three wins and four placings in 20 starts.

Those wins ranged from 1400-metres to 2400-metres.

“There’s no relation to Zaaki,” Baker said.

“The owners just took the mare’s name and reversed it.”Sort of.

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