Cambridge trainer Andrew Forsman will have a rare afternoon off on Saturday, but his eyes will be firmly fixed on high-class three-year-old Aegon, who will start a warm favourite in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in Sydney.
Forsman, who trains in partnership with Murray Baker, part-owns the undefeated son of Sacred Falls and, courtesy of the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) meeting being postponed at least 24 hours due to a Covid scare in Auckland, he will have the opportunity to join his fellow owners the Zame family in a gathering at Mt Maunganui to cheer home their charge in the A$1 million feature.
"It has worked out quite well, we don't have anything racing on Saturday in New Zealand, so we will take the kids over I guess and settle in at the Mount and watch races for the afternoon," Forsman said.
"Hopefully we get a good result and it should be a fun day."
Baker and Forsman have a stellar record of plundering Australian riches, and while not able to be in Sydney due to travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic, the duo are pleased with reports from the stable's travelling foreperson Aleisha Legg, who is overseeing the gelding and stablemates The Chosen One and Quick Thinker from Bjorn Baker's Warwick Farm stable.
"The feedback has been good. He had a quiet week after his win in the Hobartville (Group 2, 1400m) and he was carrying a bit of residual fitness from the Karaka Mile," Forsman said.
"He was quite fresh going into the Hobartville and has had a couple of good gallops this week and looks to have been going nicely.
"Aleisha rode him in his final bit of fast work this morning and said she only made him do what he needed to and he has pulled up really well and looks bright on the video we have seen.
"It is great to have Aleisha there as she knows the horses as good as anyone and it is good to have that consistency and knowing exactly where the horses are at, the best we can, under the circumstances."
Hugh Bowman, who partnered Aegon to an easy victory in the Hobartville, has not sat on the athletic Kiwi beyond raceday.
"Hugh offered to gallop him before the Hobartville but I told him not to bother," Forsman said.
"He is a pretty straight forward horse and there was probably no real need. He is laidback in his work and gives the jockey a better feel on raceday anyway."
Forsman admitted to being a bundle of nerves before Aegon's first-up run in Australia, but he has taken a lot of heart from how the New Zealand form has stacked up across the Tasman.
"It was good to see him get the job done and there will be other horses come in the mix along the way as he progresses through the preparation, but whatever happens from here, he has stamped himself and proven he is up to the better ones."
Aegon will meet several of the same rivals he defeated two weeks ago in the Guineas and will relish the step up to 1600m, having won the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas and the Karaka Mile over the distance.
The stable will also be represented by Quick Thinker in the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m), with last year's Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) winner building towards the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), but the good4 track will play against the entire, who shows his best with give in the ground.
"We were going to wait till next Saturday but we just felt we were best to give him this run while we had the option and he probably wasn't going to be as well weighted next Saturday under set weights and penalties conditions," Forsman said.
"It is another run and it is a shame the track will be a little bit good for his liking but the small field helps and hopefully up to 2000m he can hold a spot up on the pace and having Hugh [Bowman] on, he will keep him up to the mark anyway."
Meanwhile, The Chosen One trialled well yesterday over 1030m at Rosehill and will contest the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at the same venue next week.
Another Baker-Forsman runner that could be seen in Sydney this autumn is Frontman, who contests the New Zealand Derby on Sunday, with connections initially looking to bypass the race and head straight to Sydney. "We had him all but booked to fly over to Sydney but as things unfolded with the Derby and Amarelinha not heading there, we decided to have a go," Forsman said.
- NZ Racing Desk