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No doubt one of our very best....enjoy your retirement you have definitely earned it.....ūüĎŹ




Murray Baker retires from training at the end of April. Photo: Trish Dunell

Murray Baker had huge impact as a trainer

Tim Barton for LOVERACING.NZ
28 April 2022

Murray Baker has been the king of the classics.

The Cambridge horseman, who retires from training at the end of April, has won 26 Group I three-year-old races and his honour roll includes nine Derbies and five Oaks victories.

There have also been four wins apiece in the NZ Two Thousand Guineas and Levin Classic and a NZ St Leger victory when the race had Group I status.

Four of Baker’s fillies have topped the NZB Filly of the Year series and the stable has won almost 30 individual races in the fillies series but, oddly, never the One Thousand Guineas.

Baker‚Äôs first win as a trainer attracted little attention ‚Äď a non-tote maiden at Otaki with Vizier in October 1978 - but his first black-type win came in the same season, when three-year-old Vizier beat Uncle Remus in the Jackson Stakes at Whanganui.

There have been another 269 stakes wins since, in a career which has earned Baker a place in the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame and ensured he would be ranked among the top echelon of New Zealand trainers.

He has been spectacularly successful in Australia, and - since the introduction of the Group system, in the late 1970s - has won more Group I races in Australia than any other New Zealand-based trainer.

His standout achievement has been his five Australian Derby winners, an extraordinary feat for a New Zealand-based trainer, putting Baker in truly elite company.

The blue riband Australian Derby has been run in Sydney since 1861 but only three trainers have won the race more than four times, the two others being the Australian training titans Tommy Smith and Bart Cummings. Smith - who dominated Sydney racing for more than three decades ‚Äď is well ahead of the pack with nine wins, with Baker and Cummings on five.

Baker has also had two seconds in the Australian Derby and his 22 Group I victories in Australia also include the Victoria Derby, Australian Oaks, and South Australian Oaks.

Dundeel won four Group I races in Australia in his three-year-old campaign and the Group II Tulloch Stakes in Sydney has fallen to a Baker three-year-old five times.

The elite wins across the Tasman by his older horses include the Caulfield, Sydney and Brisbane Cups and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney, along with four wins in the Group I Underwood Stakes at the Melbourne spring carnival.

Baker has had nine Melbourne Cup runners, with six finishing in the top five but a win proved elusive. The Phantom was luckless when fourth in 1989 and was runner-up the following year, behind Kingston Rule, who still holds the race record time.

In all, Baker has won 48 black-type races in Australia and around 60 overall.

A key factor in Baker’s Australian record has been his ability to recognise horses with the potential to succeed across the Tasman and then back his judgement.

He was happy to go to Australia when the horses were still on their way up, rather than waiting till they showed something like their best form, in order to justify the trip.

Though Baker is best known for his success with three-year-olds and stayers, he has also made a mark with juveniles and his winning catalogue includes the Karaka Million at Ellerslie and multiple wins in the two Group I races for two-year-olds in New Zealand.

His last Group I win came with the two-year-old filly Lickety Split, in the Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie in March.

Baker, who turned 76 on April 21, spent his first 22 years as a trainer in the central districts, mostly at Woodville, which was then a thriving training centre.

However, he joined the drift north, to Cambridge, in 2000 and the last 20 years of his career proved to be his best. He also took on two talented training partners, first son Bjorn, who is now a leading trainer in Sydney, and then Andrew Forsman, who will be in sole charge from May 1.

The Baker-Forsman partnership began in the 2012-13 season and has been a spectacular force. There were four national premierships in the space of five seasons, with the stable setting new marks in terms of wins, stake earnings and feature wins

The 10-year partnership produced more than 865 wins and 156 black-type victories.


First winner: Vizier - October 4, 1978, at Otaki

NZ winners: 1817 (as at April 27, 2022)

Australian winners: approximately 60

NZ Trainer of the Year awards: 5

NZ training premierships: 4

NZ Horse of the Year:¬†5 in succession ‚Äď Dundeel, Mongolian Khan (2), Bonneval (2)

Stakes and Group wins: 270 (NZ 222, Australia 48)

Group I wins: 57 (NZ 35, Australia 22)

Group II wins: 58 (NZ 45, Australia 13)

Group III wins: 70 (NZ 63, Australia 7)

Listed wins: 85 (NZ 79, Australia 6)



1985      Sir Vigilant                         NZ St Leger

1990      Miss Stanima                     Auckland Cup

1990      Eagle Eye                            Bayer (Levin) Classic

1991      Let’s Sgor                           NZ Oaks

1991      Let’s Sgor                           Great Northern Champion Stakes

1992      Staring                                NZ Oaks

1993      Staring                                Zabeel Classic

2002      Emerald Dream                Waikato International (Herbie Dyke)

2002      Prized Gem                        Kelt (Livamol) Stakes

2004      Ambitious Owner             Levin Classic

2008      Fully Fledged                     Diamond Stakes (Ellerslie Sires’ Produce)

2009      The Heckler                       Manawatu Sires’ Produce

2010      We Can Say It Now          Levin Classic

2010      We Can Say It Now          Captain Cook Stakes

2013      Atlante                               NZ 2000 Guineas

2014      Turn Me Loose                 NZ 2000 Guineas

2015      Mongolian Khan               NZ Derby

2015      Dal Cielo                            Diamond Stakes (Ellerslie Sires’ Produce)

2015      Sakhee’s Soldier               Bonecrusher NZ Stakes

2015      Diademe                            NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes

2016      Luna Rossa                        Manawatu Sires’ Produce

2017      Lizzie L’Amour                   Bonecrusher NZ Stakes

2017      Bonneval                            NZ Oaks

2017      Charmont                           NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes

2018      Stolen Dance                     Thorndon Mile

2018      Lizzie L’Amour                   Waikato International (Herbie Dyke) Stakes

2018      Vin De Dance                    NZ Derby

2018      Saint Emilion                     Bonecrusher NZ Stakes

2018      Madison County               NZ 2000 Guineas

2019      Madison County               Levin Classic

2019      Nicoletta                            NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes

2019      True Enough                      Zabeel Classic

2020      Aegon                                 NZ 2000 Guineas

2022      The Chosen One               Thorndon Mile

2022      Lickety Split                       Sistema (Ellerslie Sires’ Produce) Stakes



1990      The Phantom                     Underwood Stakes

1992      Eagle Eye                            Ranvet Stakes

1992      Eagle Eye                            Sydney Cup

2002      Prized Gem         `              Brisbane Cup

2004      Dowry                                 South Australian Oaks

2008      Nom Du Jeu                       Australian (AJC) Derby

2010      Lion Tamer                        Victoria Derby

2011      Lion Tamer                        Underwood Stakes

2012      Dundeel                             Spring Champion Stakes              

2013      Dundeel                             Randwick Guineas

2013      Dundeel                             Rosehill Guineas              

2013      Dundeel                             Australian Derby

2013      Dundeel                             Underwood Stakes

2014      Dundeel                             Queen Elizabeth Stakes

2015      Mongolian Khan               Australian Derby

2015      Mongolian Khan               Caulfield Cup

2015      Turn Me Loose                 Emirates Stakes

2016      Turn Me Loose                 Futurity Stakes

2017      Bonneval                           AJC Oaks

2017      Bonneval                           Underwood Stakes

2017      Jon Snow                           Australian Derby

2020      Quick Thinker                   Australian Derby           



1987      Palliser                                Tulloch Stakes

1990      The Phantom                     Memsie Stakes

1993      The Bill                                Tulloch Stakes

2002      Prized Gem                        Prime Minister’s Cup

2009      Harris Tweed                     Tulloch Stakes

2015      Turn Me Loose                  Crystal Mile

2016      Saracino                             Danehill Stakes

2017      Jon Snow                            Tulloch Stakes

2017      Bonneval                            Feehan Stakes

2019      Quick Thinker                    Tulloch Stakes

2019      The Chosen One               Herbert Power

2021      Quick Thinker                    Chairman’s Handicap

2021      Hobartville Stakes            Aegon



1991      Pontiac Lass                       Colin Stephen Handicap

2012      Dundeel                              Gloaming Stakes

2013      Usainity                              Packer Plate

2016      Eleonora                             Ethereal Stakes

2017      Jon Snow                            JRA Cup

2019      Quick Thinker                    Ming Dynasty Handicap 

2019      The Chosen One               Packer Plate



1991      Steineck                              Jupiter Casino Stakes (Caulfield)

2010      Lion Tamer                        Ming Dynasty Handicap

2010      Harris Tweed                     Bart Cummings

2015      Turn Me Loose                 Seymour Cup

2017      Weather With You           Geelong Classic

2019      Long Jack                           Geelong Classic




1989                     The Phantom                     South Australian Derby

1990                     The Phantom                    Melbourne Cup

1991                     Eagle Eye                            Australian Guineas

1992                     Eagle Eye                           Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sydney)

2008                     Nom Du Jeu                       Queen Elizabeth Stakes                

2008                     Nom Du Jeu                       Caulfield Cup

2009                     Harris Tweed                    Australian Derby

2010                     Harris Tweed                     Caulfield Cup

2017                     Turn Me Loose                 Orr Stakes

2019                     Madison County               Australian Derby

2020                     The Chosen One               Sydney Cup



1989                     The Phantom                    Caulfield Cup

1989                     The Phantom                     Underwood Stakes

2010                     Harris Tweed                     Sydney Cup

2018                     Eleonora                             Australian Oaks



1989                     The Phantom                     4th

1990                     The Phantom                     2nd             

1991                     Pontiac Lass                      21st

2008                     Nom Du Jeu                       8th

2009                     Harris Tweed                     5th

2010                     Harris Tweed                     5th

2019                     The Chosen One               17th

2020                     The Chosen One               4th

2021                     The Chosen One               5th



7 wins: Dundeel (six Grp 1).

6 wins: Bonneval (3 Grp 1), Staring (2 Grp 1).

5 wins: Mongolian Khan (3 Grp I), Turn Me Loose (3 Grp 1). 



5 wins:  Grp I Australian Derby, Group II Tulloch Stakes (Sydney), Grp II Cal Isuzu Stakes (Te Rapa), Grp III Gold Trail Stakes.

4 wins: Grp I Underwood Stakes (Melbourne), Grp I NZ Two Thousand Guineas, Grp I Levin Classic, Grp II Wellington Guineas, Sir Tristram Classic, Eulogy Stakes.

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