Overpass tunes up nicely for The Quokka defense

While Perth’s glamour mare Amelia’s Jewel strutted her stuff in a Perth trial on Monday, Overpass was doing the same at Rosehill Gardens ahead of their mouth-watering clash in next month’s $5 million Quokka (1200m) at Ascot.

Amelia’s Jewel, who settled last in her four-horse trial, gave pacesetter Bopping Blue a six length head start entering the home straight and without being placed under any pressure by jockey Pat Carbery she rallied strongly to finish a close second.

In contrast, 3,290 kilometres away at Rosehill Gardens, the Bjorn Baker-trained Overpass launched his Quokka defence in style by leading all the way for jockey, Josh Parr and held a comfortable half-length margin over Zou Tiger, recording 54.34secs in a 900m heat.

Despite taking control of Perth racings rich prize pool in the past 12-months, both horse and trainer have endeared themselves to the locals with Baker’s quirky personality and the success of Overpass winning them an army of fans.

After an epic win over Amelia’s Jewel in last year’s inaugural Quokka and Group 1 success in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) eight months later, Baker said Overpass was in good shape ahead of his third visit to the west.

“I think he’s going absolutely super,” Baker said on Tabradio.

“He didn’t have a lot of racing last year; he had the five runs and two of them of course in Perth.

“He’s come back bright and well and I thought it was an excellent trial.

“He’ll have another trial and maybe a gallop between races.

“I think he flies out on the 8th of April and I’m looking forward to it.”

Overpass has not raced since outpointing local guns Oscar’s Fortune and Ripcord in last December’s Winterbottom Stakes.

A son of Vancouver, Overpass holds a top first up record and follows a similar path to last year’s Quokka with two warm up trials.

Baker believes the five-year-old holds similar form if not slightly better than 12-months ago and will relish being back at Ascot.

“If anything, my gut feel is maybe he is going slightly better,” Baker said.

“He’s very comfortable at Ascot going left handed and that direction of racing.

“I think if anything he will be better a third time.

“He’s going to be a great chance again.

“Last year he went under the guard a bit, but is well-found this year.”

Amelia’s Jewel is upholding local pride with Tabtouch. She ‘s the $4 favourite, shading Overpass at $5.

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