Brenton Andrew with racehorse Baker Boy.
Brenton Andrew with racehorse Baker Boy. ALI KUCHEL

Country racing's best galloper trained in Gatton

RACING: Listed in the field as the second emergency, there was a chance Brenton Andrew's horse Baker Boy was not going to get a start in the Country Cup's final.

The eight-year-old gelding had run in several heats leading up to Saturday's feature race at Doomben, only to be pipped at the line.

But when two horses were scratched, giving the Gatton combination the green light, there was no holding them back.

With 19-1 odds, Baker Boy stormed to victory in the 1600m Country Cup final on Saturday, ridden by jockey Ron Stewart, awarding Andrew his second Saturday-city victory.

Andrew described the journey as a "fairytale” after overcoming injuries and challenges just to gain a place in the starting field.

Brenton Andrew-trained Baker Boy and winning connections at Doomben on Saturday.
Brenton Andrew-trained Baker Boy and winning connections at Doomben on Saturday. Noel Pascoe/RQ

"There were owners (of Baker Boy) just jumping on one another, one of the owners gave me a man cuddle,” Andrew said.

He praised Stewart for the ride, saying it was a 10-out-of-10 performance.

"He drew a bad barrier, but our plan was to go forward,” Andrew said.

"He crossed to the lead then let a couple horses pass but ended up with a beautiful run.

"You couldn't have asked for a better ride.”

Brenton Andrew's Baker Boy, ridden by Ron Stewart, takes out the inaugural Country Cups Challenge at Doomben.
Brenton Andrew's Baker Boy, ridden by Ron Stewart, takes out the inaugural Country Cups Challenge at Doomben. Noel Pascoe/RQ

The Country Cup Challenge included 16 non-TAB races from September 22 to November 17 across Queensland, aiming to bring the best country horses to the city.

Horses gained a place in the final by winning one of the 16 heats and having raced in at least three non-TABb races in the past 12 months.

Baker Boy gained his emergency acceptance when he finished third at the Kumbia Cup, with first and second failing to meet the entry requirements.

Andrew said the Country Cup Challenge was a great concept that gained a lot of attention throughout the racing community.

"The industry is starting to realise if you don't have grassroots racing, there's no racing ... it's like any code,” he said.

"It proves to everyone you can win city races with a country trainer.

"You don't have to have a horse trained in Brisbane to get the same results.”

Brenton Andrew's Baker Boy, ridden by Ron Stewart, takes out the inaugural Country Cups Challenge at Doomben.
Brenton Andrew's Baker Boy, ridden by Ron Stewart, takes out the inaugural Country Cups Challenge at Doomben. Noel Pascoe/RQ

However, four months ago Baker Boy's racing career was nearly cut short when he crashed into a fence, fracturing his skull.

Andrew lost count how many stitches the horse had and feared he would never race again.

Baker Boy has since made a full recovery and has only a small scar remaining from the incident.

"He's got a habit of continually hurting himself,” Andrew said.

"But he's got a kind nature, he means well and always tries his heart out.”

Baker Boy arrived at Andrew's Gatton stables three years ago, having previously raced in Melbourne.

Baker Boy is owned by a number of local Gatton residents.

Andrew plans to step the gelding up to 1600m races in the future.


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