D-day for Le Baron in Dunkeld Cup

RECYCLED galloper Le Baron is running for his racing future in today’s $25,000 Dunkeld Cup (1800m).

Warrnambool trainer Jarrod McLean pulled no punches when talking about the former New Zealand Guineas winner in the leadup to today’s race which is run against the spectacular backdrop of the Grampians.

Le Baron, owned by OTI Racing, which includes former Test cricketer Simon O’Donnell, is chasing his first win in almost four years and McLean’s first in the Dunkeld Cup.

“He needs to improve in a big way,” McLean said.

“He was terrible first up. He went awful. He was never a factor in the small field.

“It’s D-day for him. If he doesn’t run good he will be finding a home doing equestrian.”

The seven-year-old gelding has suffered a string of leg injuries after showing immense talent as a three-year-old, winning a group 2 race in New Zealand, before coming to Australia.

McLean said the galloper’s last effort where he finished more than 20 lengths behind the winner was a concern.

He said he had put more work into Le Baron and hoped it would pay dividends.

“If he finds his best form he would be a live chance but his best form is five years ago.

“It’s a strong race, it’s not easy when you are coming off a belting like he got last time. He will be the outsider.”

McLean said he loved the Dunkeld meeting, famous for its big social focus.

“It’s always on my radar to try and have a runner there. They are a well-run race club and do an excellent job promoting the races. But I don’t think I will be coming home with the cup.”

He said the Andrew Payne-trained Pennon looked the one to beat. He won the Mortlake Cup at his last start and has had three consecutive wins this preparation.

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