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Cluden Park
Bub Back for Another Shot at the Dollars

Bub Back for Another Shot at the Dollars

4th July 2022

Just a few months ago Wulguru trainer Bub Baker was “crook” and ready to call it a day on a distinguished career spanning more than 40 years.

The veteran conditioner, who has enjoyed major success with young horses over the years, bounced back from ill-health and decided to soldier on with one horse – the quirky It’s A Ploy.

Baker is hoping that the talented but luckless It’s A Ploy will vindicate his decision and run him a big race in the tomorrow’s feature 3YO race – the Townsville Dollars at Cluden Park.

The Sepoy youngster may be considered a roughie, but he showed he was going into the race in top form with a nose second to fancied Dollars rival Santa Marinella over 1200m at Cluden on June 16.

Baker last won the Dollars 12 years ago with his former top young galloper Apache Pup.

“I’ve won Pallarendas and a couple of Great Northerns but wasn’t sure about the Dollars. Apache Pup was a pretty good horse,” Baker said.

“It’s a tough race and Roy Chillemi’s horse (Pallencia) is pretty smart but if you’re not in it you can’t win it.

“My bloke’s past couple have been very good, especially his last run when I thought he’d won but he got beaten by a whisker.

“He’s been an unlucky horse, beaten a few times in photos. He should have won the Pallarenda as a two-year-old but went over the line on the fence bolting.”

Baker says he’s glad he decided to keep training and It’s A Ploy is a pleasure to have around the place even with his bad habit of unseating work riders.

“Earlier this year I was pretty crook and I was going to give it away,” he said.

“The filly Blondie’s Secret went to Joanne (Hassett) and I had It’s A Ploy up for sale.

“But I came good and had a change of heart and decided to keep him (It’s A Ploy).

“He’s a beautiful horse to have around the stables, but he likes to throw jockeys.

“Bonnie Thomson rides him in his work and she stands over him and has figured him out, but he just won’t go for her on race day.

“Wanderson (D’Avila) has won on him and he ran second on  him the other day. I’ll be very happy if he can run in the first three and then we might go on to the Guineas.”

Classy gelding Palencia heads the field for the Dollars after a close third to Prime Ruler against older horses at Cluden last week.

The Rod Miller-trained pair King Jester and Santa Marinella are also in top form and among the major fancies.

Enjoying a career best season Tolga trainer Sharlee Hoffman is expecting to play another strong hand tomorrow with three strong chances.

Hoffman - second in the Townsville premiership behind Roy Chillemi - will saddle up Macquereau in the Great Northern NQ Cup (1609m), Starfilly in the Vale Les McLellan Cl3 Hcp (1000m), and Call Me Mo in the In Memory of Ray Tapiolas BM65 Hcp (1609m).

Macquereau, whose main target is the Cairns Cup, is looking for the mile of the NQ Cup according to Hoffman.

“His first two runs over the 1000m and 1200m were great but his last run in Cairns over 1250m, while he wasn’t beaten far, showed us he was wanting further,” Hoffman said.

“He might be a run short for the mile but he’s dappled up and drawn well, and right on track.

“I’m really excited about Starfilly. She’s racing well and just had no luck in her two runs in and I think she’s a great chance.

“Call Me Mo is just a different horse with a lot of confidence since his couple of wins in Cairns. If he travels well and handles the track he should run very well.

“It’s been a great year for myself and Lacey (Morrison). I’m really happy that with our three or so runners a meeting we’re sitting second in the premiership to such a strong stable like Roy’s.”

Pictured: It's A Ploy and Wanderson D'Avila (centre) fight out the closest of finishes with Santa Marinella (outside) in a lead-up to the Dollars. Both will line-up in the feature tomorrow.

See the racing calendar for upcoming race day