A - Z of New Zealand greats - Murray Baker
Racing is in Hall of Fame trainer Murray Baker's blood. His great great uncle, Henry Redwood, was a New Zealand politician and racehorse breeder and was known as 'The Father of New Zealand Turf' due to his efforts to promote thoroughbred racing in the mid 19th century. He was also well-know for being the first to take horses from New Zealand to compete in Australia - something Murray Baker is famed for today.
Baker's name is synonymous with Derby success - on both sides of the Tasman - and a mere few weeks ago history was made when Quick Thinker became Baker's fifth Australian derby winner. Prior to this, he had won the race as a trainer four times with Nom du Jeu (2008), Dundeel (2013), Mongolian Khan (2015) and Jon Snow (2017) and been runner-up on a further two occasions.
Racing however did not give Baker his first taste of sporting success. He was a talented cricketer, playing in the Central Districts first class cricket team at the age of 20. He was part of the team who won the Plunket Shield two years in a row and travelled to England to play for Huddersfield.
Upon his return home, Baker decided to turn his hand to training. His first major win came in 1985, with Sir Vigilant winning the St Leger. And over 20 years later, the wins keep on rolling. Turn me loose, Jon Snow, Bonneval and Mongolian Khan are among the famed names to have resided in the Baker barn in recent times, but Baker still refers to Dundeel as being his ultimate champion.
Murray Baker has saddled over 1600 winners, making him one of the most successful trainers in New Zealand Racing's history.