VIDEO: Harrison guides Profiler to Country Championship win
SYDNEY owner June Baker has raced horses for most of her life.
On Sunday the owner flew up to Grafton specially to watch her charge Profiler, ridden by local favourite Tegan Harrison, score a stunning win in the $100,000 NRRA Country Championship Qualifier (1400m), a win she described as "probably my biggest ever".
It wasn't so much the money involved and the chance now to tackle the $400,000 Country Championship Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 2. It was simply the thrill of winning a big race before a crowd of almost 1900.
"Fabulous," she said as she hugged the winning trainer, Ballina-based Stephen Lee. "I won a Tattersall's Cup in Brisbane with Loaded but this, yes, is my biggest win."
Asked how many horses she owns, Baker went shy.
"Gee I can't tell you that but it's a lot of them," she said sheepishly protecting her privacy. "It's great for Steve and for the horse."
Baker paid $15,000 for Profiler as a yearling at the Inglis Classic sale. She had a liking for the five-year-old gelding's sire, Ready's Image.
"He had scratches all over him when I bought him but I didn't mind. I just liked the horse," Baker recalled.
Profiler began his career with Grant Allard at Gosford but was eventually transferred to Lee to try to settle the headstrong gelding.
"This is great for June. She tips a lot of money into racing," a delighted Lee said. "It feels great. It was great to see him run 1400 metres.
"He just wouldn't settle when I first got him, no way. Just to get him to learn to settle has been a great achievement in itself."
Lee admitted the Country Championships Qualifier was somewhat of an afterthought for the gelding who has now won six races and nearly $140,000 prizemoney.
"A while back he was beginning to settle down and I thought after speaking to June we may as well try and have a go at the Championships," Lee added. "To carry 59 kilos today and win like he did was amazing.
"Tegan (Harrison) rode him beautifully off the early pace."
Harrison, the darling of Brisbane racing, rode an inspired race indeed.
"I was very surprised how well he settled," she admitted after the race. "He was good today, real good. He kept finding all the way to the post."
While all plaudits go to the winner, Coffs Harbour trainer Jim Jarvis also booked a golden ticket to the Country Championships Final after his bonny filly Ultimate Dreamer finished second, beaten just a short neck.
"I'm happy we're still going to the final," Jarvis said. "The difference in the barriers (Ultimate Dreamer drew 15 against Profiler coming from gate four) and the winner probably having a slightly easier run than us made the difference.
"My filly hit the front but just wilted near the line."
Jarvis also revealed Ultimate Dreamer suffered a spiked temperature from a virus after her last win at Grafton and had to have nearly a week off to recover.
Profiler went to the post as a $4.80 chance with Ultimate Dreamer $5 and third placegetter Legendary Luke, a $3.80 chance. The fourth placegetter Quatronic started the $3.50 favourite.