Undefeated Kiwi three-year-old Aegon will make his Australian debut on Saturday when he contests the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained son of Sacred Falls has impressed in his four career victories which include the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).
Installed a $3.90 favourite for his fresh-up assignment, Forsman believes Aegon will cope with the likely rain-affected conditions on Saturday, with the Rosehill track rated a Heavy8 on Wednesday.
“He has handled a Slow7 when he won at Taupo and at the trials at Te Rapa and I think it will be similar footing to a Heavy track over there. I am not too worried about it.
“Back to the 1400m is a concern, but that is probably where the slower track helps him a little bit.
“Up against those ones on a fast track, they might have been a little bit sharp for him over that trip, but the slower ground will definitely help him out.”
Forsman, who part-owns Aegon with the Zame family, said the Hobartville was a steppingstone to the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 6.
“We want to see him go out and run well on Saturday and prove he is up to that level and hopefully we can press on to the Guineas in a fortnight’s time and after that we will have to work out what we will do.
“Obviously, it is always hard to line up the form (between New Zealand and Australia) so you really don’t know how you are going to measure up and if ours is strong enough, I don’t know. All you can do is win and hope you can go there and measure up.
“I would compare him in recent times to a horse like Madison County who was pretty brilliant winning our Guineas and this guy has a similar profile.
“Madison County went on to be very competitive in the Sydney Autumn and ran second in an Australian Derby (Group 1, 2400m), probably not being an out and out stayer just because he had that bit of x-factor about him.
“I guess we are hoping Aegon can do similar or slightly better things.”
Aegon joined stablemates The Chosen One and Quick Thinker in travelling to Sydney this week, with the latter set to resume carrying 62kgs in a 1400m handicap at Rosehill on Saturday.
“Quick Thinker is going really well,” Forsman said. “He just needs give in the ground and races best right-handed which he didn’t get in the Melbourne Spring. The tracks were very firm and he didn’t cope at all. A couple of runs really tickled him up and we had to bring him home, he is in great form at the moment.
“He has to go around with a big weight on Saturday and give in the ground will help him.
“He won the Ming Dynasty (Group 3) as a three-year-old fresh up over 1400m on a wet track at Rosehill and I am sure he will run well but the weight will pull him up against race fit horses.
“I think he is in for a good prep provided he keeps getting those rain affected tracks.”
The Chosen One, who finished runner-up in last year’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in the autumn before going on to finish third in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and fourth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) is once again on a Sydney Cup campaign.
The son of Savabeel resumed with a closing second in last week’s Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and looks in for another good campaign.
“We were rapt with his first run back since the Melbourne Cup and it was good to see him return like that. His work has been good and there was no reason to think he wouldn’t run well,” Forsman said. “It was a good performance and will set him up hopefully for a big Autumn in Sydney.
“He just seems to get better and better with time, as he is bred to. He is really improving from preparation to preparation, he just seems to gain more confidence and for a stallion he is still so genuine in his races.”
Forsman said they were yet to work out which race the entire would contest first-up in Australia.
“It is more working our way back from the Sydney Cup or a Ranvet (Group 1, 2400m) and then building up to that. We have to work out the timing and how many runs he will need before then,” he said