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SECRET TO SUCCESS DISCOVERED BY ALI BABA

Ali Baba (6 g Savabeel – Dreamworks, by Maroof) has discovered the secret to success, with back-to-back wins at Matamata, albeit a last stride victory in the Transport Mechanical Waharoa Rating 72 2000 metres on 29 August.

Capable of getting worked up before his races, Ali Baba had appeared almost nonchalant before his four and a quarter length victory in the Rating 70 2000 metres on 25 July and again he paraded in relaxed mode.

Giving the recently returned rider Jake Bayliss his second win on the programme, after scoring aboard stable-mate Ivette (Jimmy Choux), Ali Baba has now recorded all four wins on the home track for owners Barry & Deirdre Neville-White, and Ballymore Stables (NZ & Aust.).

Against a field no stronger than he beat last time, Ali Baba was allowed to ease rearward from barrier one and passed the 800m in 12th. Tracking up wide on the bridle, he led around the home turn and victory looked assured. But a rival, Magic Canon (Nom du Jeu), closest to the rail had other ideas and it went down to the wire.

On Heavy11 footing, Ali Baba ran the 2000 metres in 2:18.3, last 600m in 41, and paid $2.30 & $1.50 as favourite on the NZ TAB tote.

Trainers Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard have mixed the training regime with Ali Baba to include jumping, and he went very well for third when given a hurdle trial in July.

“He’s meant to be getting ready for a hurdle race, but he’s put his hand up again on the flat so I’ll have to discuss it with Mike,” Gerard said. “There’s still next year for him to go jumping, and he might win again on the flat, given better tracks which he prefers.

“I don’t think he was entirely happy on a heavy track like that, which was quite a bit slower than his previous win, but he stretched the last bit. He’s a bit cunning and I think he misjudged exactly where he was and just not as comfortable in the going. He would have been able to sprint off a slow track, but then we got the rain overnight and during the day which made it pretty heavy. He just chopped through it, but a win is a win and he got there.

“He’s always had the potential to be not a bad horse. He won as a three-year-old, finished fourth in the Sarten, and fifth in the Waikato Guineas. If he can continue to settle, I think he can run a lot further and we might have to throw in a cheeky nom for the New Zealand Cup. Coming into summer, he might be quite competitive in some of the Cup races, you never know.

“He can be a bit temperamental, but if we can get his confidence back and get him cocky then he can continue improving. He likes doing his jumping, likes going to the beach; you’ve got to mentally outsmart him. He’s not just a straight out racehorse, but has a few quirks about him and we’ve just got to mix it up for him. At the moment I wouldn’t say we’ve beaten him, but we’re just ahead.”

Ali Baba was strapped by Richie Fallon.

[29 Aug 18]

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