Ash Morgan and Bjorn Baker combine for Orange feature-race double

The Bjorn Baker-trained and Ash Morgan-ridden Shameonus won the 2022 Orange Cup. Photo: Racing Photography.

Bjorn Baker’s team of horses have proven too strong at Orange on Saturday, with the Sydney trainer winning both features on the Orange Cup program. 

Teaming up with popular Welsh jockey Ash Morgan, Baker won the Orange Showcase Sprint with Quiet Riot revelling in the heavy eight conditions.

The five-year-old, which started the $2.45 favourite, was taken forward in the 1000m event before kicking away to beat Blitzer ($7) for Chris Heywood and Jean Van Overmeire and Ecker Road ($60) for Bryan Dickson and Zara Lewis.

Then in the $75,000 Orange Gold Cup, Morgan again helped the Baker team to a good win when guiding Shameonus to victory. 

The Sydney galloper opened favourite but drifted to $5.10 before contesting the 2100m event, and despite being ridden on the pace, the four-year-old pulled away for a comfortable win from stablemate Ita ($3.80) for jockey Lee Magorrian, while in third was Picaro ($5.10) for Gary Portelli and jockey Reece Jones. 

Assistant Foreman to Bjorn Baker, Glen Lobb, was on course for the victory, and he praised Morgan on a good ride. 

“The boys always thought this would be his go – 10 furlongs or further – Ash rode him a treat; he got out of the gate good and was sitting outside the leader and just a long way from home, I thought, ‘geez he’s going to be hard to beat this horse’,” Lobb said. 

Shameonus was a dominant winner in the Orange Cup Prelude back in March, and Lobb was excited to see where the Shamus Award gelding could get too after what was the biggest win of his career. 

“He’s run here in the (Orange Cup) Prelude; he run right through the line and looked really good that day and it was probably he’s best run to date, but today has topped even that and it might be exciting to see where he will go,” Lobb said. 

“He (Baker) will bring a lot out here (to the country) and we have had a lot of good horses come out here that have gone on and hopefully he is another one.”

Stablemate Ita finished a good second behind Shameonus and Lobb said the consistent All Too Hard mare was close to a breakthrough country cup win. 

“She is a bridesmaid a lot of the times, but geez you’d love to own her,” Lobb said. 

“The prize money just keeps ticking over with her, and in the right race and on the right day, one of these cup races; she will knock it off.”

Ash Morgan said Shameonus travelled well in the wet conditions and was suited by the early pace set by the Clint Lundholm-trained Notabadidea in the Orange Cup.

“I know there was a doubt with the heavy track but even coming to the barriers, he moved really well on it, and he tends to be slow away, but he jumped good,” Morgan said. 

“The plan was to lead, but I didn’t want to go to the fence just because of the way it has been riding today and Brooke (Stower) elected to take it up (on Notabadidea) and when the other horse went to, I was just happy to sit there.”

Shameonus was a class above his rivals the further the race progressed, and Morgan agreed that his galloper did it easy in the $75,000 race.

“I was full of horse at the half-mile and probably went 100m to soon, but I thought if I’m going this well, I still have plenty of horse and they have to be chasing me on a heavy track and I was going through it really well and it was a good effort and good win,” Morgan said. 

It was another cracking day of country racing at Orange, and in the remaining feature races, the Danielle Seib-trained Almahero (Jean Van Overmeire) won the $50,000 Country Magic Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1600m and the Gayna Williams-trained Boongarra Girl (Grant Buckley) streaked away for a very good win in the $40,000 country only maiden 1280m Maiden Plate. 

For full Racing Orange results, readers can click here.