As is so often the case these days, Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will be keeping watch on feature race contenders on both sides of the Tasman tomorrow.
Jon Snow continues his buildup to the Cups in Melbourne when he contests the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, while emerging star Francaletta tackles the Gr.3 Boehringer Ingelheim Metric Mile at Awapuni.
The freshly re-crowned New Zealand champion training duo of Baker and Forsman have campaigned more horses in Australia in recent years than any other domestic stable so are well versed in ensuring the planning and logistics of the exercise are fine-turned to bring about success.
But Baker is warning success might not come Jon Snow's way this weekend, rather the Flemington weight-for-age feature providing the Gr.1 Australian Derby winner with another important stepping stone towards more suitable targets deeper into the spring. "We're happy with him but it's a very strong field and for him it's another step on his pathway to the Cups," Baker said.
"He's drawn well and he would have taken improvement from his run the other day [for a creditable sixth placing in the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield]. He went very well and if he hadn't been tightened, he might have run fourth."
Iffraaj entire Jon Snow is rated an $18 outsider for the Makybe Diva where Hartnell is the $1.85 favourite.
Closer to home, talented High Chaparral five-year-old mare Francaletta will start favourite in the Boehringer Ingelheim Metric Mile, shooting for her sixth win from seven starts after an emphatic first-up sprint win at Hastings earlier this month.
"It's a tough ask second-up jumping from 1200m to a mile but it's a stakes race and she deserves her shot," Baker said.
- NZ Racing Desk