Stablemates The Chosen One, Long Jack and Quick Thinker are back in work after Australian spring campaigns with the latter pair walking a fine line to get to Ellerslie late next month for another Group 1 target.
The Chosen One, winner of the Group 2 Herbert Power (2400m) at Caulfield last October was put aside for a well-earned rest after finishing unplaced in both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m). “He’s been back in about a month,” co-trainer Andrew Forsman said. “He looks really well and, though he’s a bull (stallion), he hasn’t got too heavy. “He’s had a few gallops and we’ll just keep him ticking over. “There are no firm plans as yet, but he’ll more than likely be aimed at the Sydney Autumn Carnival.”
The Chosen One campaigned in Sydney last autumn and finished an unlucky fourth in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) and won the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m). The four-year-old son of Savabeel has won five of his 17 starts with his last eight races being in Australia.
Long Jack and Quick Thinker are among six horses Forsman and his senior training partner, Murray Baker, have nominated for the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on February 29 and, though they have done well with short breaks since racing at Flemington last November, both will need all favours to get to the Derby. “We’d like to get them to the Derby, but we’re cutting it fine,” Forsman said. “Long Jack has been gelded since he last raced and he’ll trial at Matamata next Tuesday and that will tell us more. “It’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t get to the New Zealand Derby. His owners bred him to be an older stayer and we won’t panic. “There’s always a Derby over in Australia to consider.”
Long Jack has recorded both his two wins in Australia, the latest in the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) and he was gelded after finishing seventh in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 2.
Quick Thinker had three starts in Sydney early in the season, winning the Group 3 Ming Dynasty (1400m) on a heavy track at Rosehill last August then finishing third in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and fifth in the Group 1 Champion Stakes (2000m) before heading to Melbourne where he completed his campaign with a sixth in a Listed 1800m at Flemington on November 7. “He’s not as forward as Long Jack and he’ll be struggling to get to the New Zealand Derby,” Forsman said. “I’m not convinced staying is his go. His best form has been 1400m to 1600m and we’re still figuring him out. “If he does prove he’ll stay he could have a go at a Derby over in Australia.”
Baker and Forsman’s other New Zealand Derby nominations are Checkers, Holy Mongolemperor, Marroni and Mongolian Sun. “They’ve still got to prove their Derby credentials,” Forsman said. “Holy Mongolemperor will be interesting. He seems to be winding up and hitting the line well in his races and everyone that has ridden him said he wants to go further, but he hasn’t been past 1600m yet. “He’ll run in Levin Classic (Group 1 1600m) at Trentham on Saturday and Opie Bosson will ride him.”
The son of More Than Ready has yet to win in seven starts, but he caught the eye with a closing last- start fifth behind the exciting Dragon Leap in the Group 2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Stablemate Mongolian Marshal will also be heading to Trentham, for the Group 1 Thorndon Mile on January 18. He finished a creditable fourth in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day behind stablemate True Enough, whose next mission will be the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 8. “They’ve both done well,” Forsman said. “True Enough will probably have an exhibition gallop between races somewhere to take the edge off him for Te Rapa.”