Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman know a thing or two about preparing three-year-old stayers and they are hopeful Mongolian Wings can stamp himself as a genuine Derby contender when he tackles the Listed Te Akau Gingernuts Salver (2100m) at Ellerslie on Sunday.
Mongolian Wings is a son of Mongolian Khan, a horse Baker and Forsman prepared to win three Group 1s, including Derbys in both New Zealand and Australia, in addition to a Caulfield Cup (2400m). Now residing at Windsor Park Stud, Mongolian Khan’s eldest progeny are just three and are starting to make a good impression.
Raced by the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) Ltd, Mongolian Wings has won two of his three starts to date, with victories at Rotorua and Te Rapa and has been installed a $2.30 favourite for Sunday’s assignment.
“We’re happy with him,” Baker said. “This will be a test to see if he gets the 2100m, but he is heading in the right direction. He put three lengths on them last start and has won the past couple well.
“He hasn’t got the class of his father, but hopefully he can step up. “He is drawn barrier one and he should get a nice run from there.”
Baker said the progeny of his former champion stayer will be seen at their best over ground. “They just need time and ground,” he said. “We’ve got two or three others that we like and we just feel they need time. That’s the breed.”
Baker and Forsman have three horses towards the head of the futures market for the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) on March 6 at Ellerslie, with Aegon ($8) an early favourite but an unlikely runner. Mongolian Wings ($10) and Frontman ($12), a brother to quality mare Bonneval, are also early fancies.
“Frontman is probably a bit sharper than Mongolian Wings. He will have a go at the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday week,” Baker said.
“Aegon will trial next week at Matamata before the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on January 23.” Also trialling next week at Matamata will be The Chosen One and Quick Thinker as they prepare for autumn campaigns most likely focused on Sydney.
Baker said three-year-old filly Sweet Anna would contest the Group 3 New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham at the end of January and has had a short break after being hampered in the Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m) when sixth on New Year’s Day.
Meanwhile, three-year-old colt Suffused, who finished seventh in the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day will be gelded and turned out.