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Baker pair out to continue Winter of content

After two near-misses in Queensland, Iknowastar returns to Randwick looking for a black-type breakthrough.

IKNOWASTAR.
IKNOWASTAR. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

Not only does Bjorn Baker coax the best out of his horses such as recent Stradbroke Handicap winner Stefi Magnetica, but he has an uncanny knack for getting them to maintain form once they find it.

Two horses who showcase that particularly well are Iknowastar and Highlights, the duo preparing to vie for stable bragging rights in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Iknowastar has had 12 starts this season for five wins and five placings and hasn't missed a top-three finish in six campaign runs.

Highlights has been almost as consistent having contested seven races this time in for a brace of victories and three minor placings.

Baker believes that straddling the fine line between fitness and freshness is key.

"I guess that once they're up and running and fit and racing well, a lot of it is just about keeping them ticking over and a little about keeping them on the fresh side as well," Baker said.

"That has worked well for me over the years.

"Both horses are on the back-up this week, but they've had a very easy week."

Iknowastar returns to Sydney following two close placings in stakes company at Eagle Farm, the latest when runner-up in the Tattersall's Mile last Saturday.

Seemingly knocking on the door for a stakes win, he is a well-backed $2.70 favourite to achieve it at Randwick.

However, while the on-pace runner presents with the right credentials, Baker knows it is never that simple.

"These races are never easy to win and you don't expect to get everything your own way," Baker said.

"But he has run super his last couple.

"He has been a bit of a revelation, he always puts his best hoof forward and always gives one hundred per cent.

"It would be great to cap off what has been a pretty good season for him (with a win)."

Iknowastar's past two runs have been over a mile and he drops back 200m in journey on Saturday.

Given the expected heavy track conditions, Baker thinks that will work in the horse's favour.

"I think it will be very demanding on Saturday so if anything, it may be a positive," he said.

Stablemate Highlights is coming off a narrow win at Rosehill seven days ago and has responded well to a quick back-up in the past, including when runner-up in the Big Dance Wild Card last spring.

It will be his first foray into stakes grade, but Baker says Highlights has earned it.

"I was lucky enough to get him as a tried horse, I've had him just under a year and he has been a great money-spinner for connections," he said.

"He deserves a crack. He's probably coming to the end of his preparation so we might look at giving him a break afterwards and then look at some of the summer races."

Iknowastar is also likely to be spelled after Saturday with a late spring/summer campaign in mind.