Aegon ready to embark on familiar path

Aegon (inside) winning the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m). Photo: Trish Dunell

Aegon’s career looks set to mirror that of his sire Sacred Falls for a little while yet, with a trip to the Sydney autumn carnival on the way. Andrew Forsman, who trains the gelding in partnership with Murray Baker, said Aegon wouldn’t race in New Zealand again this season following his exciting victory over the top filly Amarelinha in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).

Aegon will leave New Zealand shores next month with an unbeaten record, as Sacred Falls did when he headed to Sydney in 2013. Though they did not take identical paths, both numbered the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) among their New Zealand victories.

And like Sacred Falls, Aegon is set to contest at least the first two legs of the Sydney three-year-old Triple Crown: the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 6 and the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 20.

His performances in those races, particularly the Rosehill Guineas, will determine whether he heads for the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on April 3, a race Baker has won five times, or follow the Sacred Falls path to the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).

Aegon’s jockey Leith Innes said after the Karaka Million that 1600m would probably be Aegon’s best distance, but Forsman said they will test him at further. “I think we will give him his chance to get over ground, and that will probably mean a 2000m race,” Forsman said. “We’ll decide then whether we press on to a Derby distance or keep him back to mile racing.”

Forsman said the team had considered heading to Melbourne for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on February 27, but that is a less likely option. “We’ve always been leaning toward Sydney with the good age group schedule they’ve got there. It means he can run against his own age group the whole way through.”

Aegon could have one run prior to the Randwick Guineas, with the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) on February 20 the likely option. Likely to join Aegon in Sydney are two stablemates that ran well in Sydney last autumn, The Chosen One and Quick Thinker.

The Chosen One was runner-up in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) last year and is likely to be headed for that race again, while plans are a little more fluid for Quick Thinker, who disappointed in the Melbourne spring after having won the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) last year. “We haven’t mapped out a plan for him, but the key is just getting him back racing right handed with a little bit of give in the ground,” Forsman said.

Meanwhile, Forsman and Baker are likely to line up both Robusto and Vee Cece in the Group 3 NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) on Saturday. Robusto will be one of the best-backed runners behind likely favourite Waisake, while Forsman said he wouldn’t rule out Vee Cece either.

“We’re mindful this will be Robusto’s second two-mile race this preparation and we really want to get her through to the Auckland Cup, so we’ve raced her pretty sparingly since the New Zealand Cup,” Forsman said. “The reason we’ve had a go at this one is that it’s probably more winnable and suitable and she’ll be a very good chance.

“I’d also give Vee Cece a chance. We put the blinkers on to sharpen her up last start and she probably just over-raced, but she’s been crying out for getting up over more ground on a big roomy track, and that’s what the Wellington Cup is.”

Also headed to Trentham is the filly Sweet Anna, who contests the Group 3 New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) after finishing behind the placegetters in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m) at the Ellerslie Christmas carnival.

“She perhaps didn’t get the best of luck at Ellerslie,” Forsman said. “Getting back to a mile on a left handed track should suit her.”

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