May be just talk, but it doesn't sound like Baughurst is going to be taking Theseo on...
Wildes Wild About Baughurst
Baughurst will be out to give trainer Bill Wilde and his co-trainer son Symon their biggest thrill in racing in Saturday's $1 million Australian Cup at Flemington.
Wilde, who combines training at Warrnambool with his profession as a dentist, has had plenty of success on country and city tracks although he has had few Group One runners, while Symon was his foreman for some time before gaining his licence earlier this season.
"We would have been happy to be running him in the smaller country Cups and races like the Hamilton and Warrnambool Cups, but he's exceeded all our expectations," he said.
"He's sounder than he ever has been and we are very excited about going into this race and hopefully he'll be competitive."
Baughurst shook off back problems which put him out of action for 20 months from when he was a late three-year-old and has come back to win the 2007 Hamilton Cup (2200m), Moonee Valley Country Cup (2040m) and the Werribee Cup (2000m), while last spring he won a 1700m event at Flemington as well as the Group Three Coongy Hcp (2000m) at Caulfield.
His placings include third to Zipping in the 2007 Group Two Sandown Classic, third to Zagreb in the 2008 Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield, second to Light Vision in The Bart Cummings at Flemington, second to Gallopin in the Group Two Moonee Valley Cup and third to Capecover in the Group Three Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington.
He contested his first Group One race when resuming in the CF Orr Stakes (1400m) with an encouraging 3-1/2 length seventh to Maldivian at Caulfield on February 8.
Second-up he was ridden for the first time in his 38-start career by champion jockey Damien Oliver when he chased home Australian Cup favourite Theseo ($2.20), finishing 3-3/4-length runner-up in the Group Two St George Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 21.
Oliver has stuck with the seven-year-old on Saturday.
Wilde believes Baughurst can finish closer to Theseo and maybe even beat him providing there is genuine speed in the race.
"There's certainly improvement in him. He did have a good blow and Ollie mentioned that he thought he could improve a bit. We know him well enough to know that he's nicely tuned up for this race," he said.
"His best runs in the past have been second, third, fourth-up and he's coming to his pet distance and I couldn't be happier with him. I'm delighted.
"If something took Theseo on and it became a genuinely-run race and he didn't get his own way in front, Baughurst is better ridden back off the speed and, although he's got only a short sprint, it is quite a sharp sprint when he does go.
"So that would be our only hope (of beating Theseo) - let him relax, do no work and come home with a withering burst with an inspired Ollie ride."
With Theseo dominating the betting, TAB Sportsbet fixed odds has Master O'Reilly, Road To Rock and Niconero equal second picks at $11 with Baughurst and Pre Eminence at $14 and Zagreb and Zarita next best at $16.
ｩ AAP 2009 Published 05/03/09