The all-conquering Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable enjoyed a red-letter day on Saturday with a winning transtasman group one double to add to a brace of wins earlier in the day at Te Rapa.
Among those early Te Rapa victories was a game performance from four-year-old Rip Van Winkle mare Let Me Roar who overcame her toughest test to date when she took out the Team Wealleans open 1400. It was the mare's sixth win from as many starts and will now see her step up to the elite level to tackle the Manco Easter Stakes in a fortnight.
"It was a brave win as she drew the outside and was meeting a far better quality of horse than she has in the past," noted co-trainer Andrew Forsman.
"She is also a little better suited to going right-handed at this stage of her development so she did have a few factors against her. Class normally prevails though and she has a fair bit of that about her."
That class factor will be tested in the Manco Easter Stakes with Forsman keen to see her challenged at the top level.
"On what she has shown to date I think she is up to them however you never quite know until they tackle a race like the Easter," he said.
"She tends to handle most track conditions so we're not worried about that although she wouldn't start on a real bog."
While no further assignments have been planned for the mare, Forsman didn't rule out the possibility of a Brisbane winter campaign should she perform to expectations at Ellerslie.
Meanwhile the affable Cambridge horseman is still pinching himself about the results of the last seven days that saw the stable snare a group one treble with Jon Snow in the Australian Derby, Bonneval in the Australian Oaks and Charmont in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes. The win by Bonneval marked the first time a trainer had won both the Australian Derby and Oaks in the same year since Clarry Connors did it with Research back in 1989.
"I guess the feeling is a little surreal at the moment as it is still taking time to sink in," he said.
"They don't just give group one races away and for Murray to now have notched up 20 of them in Australia is a marvellous feat and one I'm proud to be a part of."
Forsman advised Bonneval would be on a plane home this week where she would join Jon Snow in the spelling paddock.
"They will both go out for a spell now before we bring them back in June to get ready for a spring campaign," he said.
"I think one of the keys to success with both horses was the way they continued to improve and develop over the last few months. They are similar types in a lot of ways and if they can continue that progress in their next preparations then there is a lot to look forward to.
"Once they come back into work we will assess our options but you would think that the Melbourne Spring Carnival would be a logical target for them both."
- NZ Racing Desk