Success may rob Cambridge apprentice Alex Forbes of the opportunity to share Christmas with his family.

Three weeks ago, the 16-year-old Forbes left for a three-month trial transfer to Melbourne trainer Leon Corstens, Bart Cummings' long-time stable foreman before his solo career.

Forbes had intended returning to New Zealand on Tuesday this week for seven days, but riding his first Australian winner on the Corstens-trained Lady Antebellum at Moonee Valley last Friday night has now got in the way.

The phone started ringing and after an expensive airline transfer from Tuesday to Wednesday to take just one country ride on Tuesday, the phone became hectic.


The apprentice cancelled his flight home and after riding at Seymour today he will ride three at Moonee Valley tonight, including Sir Gwynn, who has won his past two in Adelaide for trainer Michael Hickmott, and Manor Lady, prepared by Robbie Griffiths, has won two of her past four.

Tomorrow night at Moonee Valley's back-up race night, he is engaged for last-start winner, the Leon Corstens-trained Ready As Elle and Paparazzi.

At Flemington on Saturday, Patrick Payne has engaged Forbes for Baron Douro and the apprentice has picked up two other rides.

"It just shows what one win can do for you in Australia," says his father, Cambridge trainer Graeme Forbes.

"It might have cost Alex Christmas at home, but it was a A$55,000 race, so it was a nice payday and Alex also won a set of new golf clubs from the race."

•It might sound easy with a big chequebook and putting your hand up for anything you like at the yearling sales.

It isn't.

The bigger the chequebook, the bigger the pressure.

Owner David Ellis let go a big breath when Catalonia put his hand up for the Karaka Million with his $50,000 juvenile win at Te Rapa at the weekend.

The $150,000 purchase price might be well short of what the Te Akau boss often pays for a yearling with an eye on 2-year-old supremacy, but even that sum creates stress.

"We face a constant battle to keep ahead of things with the yearlings we buy and so far we've got our heads in front," said Ellis.

Catalonia shows he has probably the most important asset to make him a Karaka Million chance - the ability to hit the line strongly.

In his debut he sped along and was run down by hugely talented filly Bounding, but this time he reversed those roles and burst at the leaders early in the home straight and powered to the finish.

He is a solidly built colt who looks as though racing will benefit him.