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Melbourne campaign on the cards for NZ St Leger winner
19 Mar 2013Serpent, the latest stakes-winner to emerge from the classy Murray Baker-Andrew Forsman stable, has a possible Australian date, but it won’t entail clashing with his headlining stablemate It’s A Dundeel.

In the same afternoon last Saturday that It’s A Dundeel completed a Sydney Group One double in the Randwick Guineas at Warwick Farm, Serpent completed a hat-trick with his first black-type win in the Listed Lincoln Lodge New Zealand St Leger at Trentham.

While mention was made at the time of a possible Australian Derby tilt with the emerging son of Chinese Dragon, it’s more likely that if he does head across the Tasman this autumn, it will be to Melbourne rather than Sydney.

“The VRC St Leger could be the race for him,” co-trainer Murray Baker said today. “There are some nice staying races for three-year-olds in Melbourne at this time of year and I think he’s the right type for them.”

Serpent cleared maiden company at his fourth start with a win over 1600 metres at Pukekohe in late February and stepped up to a middle-distance in impressive style in a special conditions event on the first day of the Ellerslie carnival. He was the only three-year-old in Saturday’s 2500-metre St Leger and proved too strong for his four-year-old rivals after leading from barrier rise.

The A$150,000 VRC St Leger is contested over 2800 metres on April 25 and the Flemington version of the world’s oldest classic remains restricted to three-year-olds. Before a final decision is made on a Melbourne campaign, Serpent is likely to start in the Gr. 3 Higgins Manawatu Classic at Awapuni on Saturday week.

“It will mean dropping back to 2000 metres but it’s the right sort of race to take him a stage further,” commented Baker.