27 SEP 21 | NZ Racing Desk

Murray Baker knows he’s got a good three-year-old staying prospect in Samarkand, an outstanding winner at Tauranga on Sunday.


What he doesn’t know is what to do with him next.


Baker, who trains at Cambridge with Andrew Forsman, clearly had a strong opinion of Samarkand from an early stage.


The son of Mongolian Khan ran at Listed level in his first two races as a juvenile, where he finished fourth in the Champagne Stakes (1600m) and fifth in the Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m), both at Ellerslie last autumn.


He returned at Taupo in early September, finishing second to Only In America over 1400m, prior to his all-the-way victory by nearly eight lengths over 1600m at Tauranga.


Samarkand isn’t nominated for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and is more likely to be seen heading towards the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) in March next year.


“He’s a three-year-old that wants to go 2000m now, but there aren’t any options for that until January,” Baker said of Samarkand, who is out of the Zabeel mare Shimmy.


“He’ll most likely have a couple more runs in spring but I haven’t decided where he will go next.”


A $26,000 Karaka yearling purchase, Samarkand is named after the city of the same name in the central Asian country of Uzbekistan. His name is a nod to his sire Mongolian Khan as the city was one of many conquered by Mongolian leader Genghis Khan in the 13th century.


NZ Racing Desk