He may be best known for his observational skills in US TV series The Mentalist, but when it comes to horse racing Simon Baker concedes he’s more of a curator.
The Australian actor was at Royal Randwick on Saturday for Day Two of The Championships as an ambassador for Swiss luxury watchmaker Longines.
But he was also there to have a flutter.
The 44-year-old said he was happy to be a little bit ahead mid-afternoon, but didn’t have any tips for the headline $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“But I’ve been gathering tips throughout the day,” he told AAP.
“I compare them with each other, then I make a decision. Because everyone’s so adamant about their own tip.
“I always look at the odds a bit – I don’t really like betting on something that’s got really short odds.
“If I’m going to put a bet on a favourite I’ll also put a bet on a long shot as well.
“Not that I know what I’m doing at all, it’s just a bit of fun.”
Baker dined trackside at a Longines VIP luncheon in one of the upstairs ballrooms, next to the one in which Prime Minister Tony Abbott was dining.
Earlier in the day he took some time out to judge the Longines Award of Elegance and present a diamond-encrusted watch to its winner, 31-year-old Melissa Hann.
Hann was one of six female finalists picked from Myer Fashions on the Field entrants at last Saturday’s Derby Day.
Dressed in a sleek grey suit, blue tie, and thick-framed black glasses, Baker said his sense of style “depends what mood I’m in”.
“I was a bit anxious earlier today, because I have a responsibility today,” he said.
“But now I’m here it’s really all about the horse racing, which is kind of the way I like it. And I have friends here, so it’s more social.”
Baker lives in Los Angeles with his actress wife Rebecca Rigg and their three children, but says Australia still holds a special place in his heart.
“I love Sydney, and I feel an immense amount of pride for the city.
“I like these sorts of things when the public comes together and celebrates something. It’s kind of atmospheric, it feels good.”