A barnstorming finish for second behind Delphi in Saturday’s Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield indicated the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained The Chosen One is right at his peak for a third tilt at the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) this coming weekend.
The six-year-old Savabeel entire finished a gallant third behind Verry Elleegant and Anthony Van Dyck in last year’s Caulfield Cup before going on to finish a meritorious fourth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
A year prior, The Chosen One finished ninth in the Caulfield Cup won by Mer De Glace, beaten four lengths when enduring a torrid run from barrier 18.
The famed Cups double has long been the target this year and seven days out from the first of the Melbourne majors, the consistent stayer is bang on target.
After settling last for rider Damian Lane on Saturday, The Chosen One spotted Delphi a conservative six lengths with 600m to run before closing to within a length of the former European galloper at the line.
The Chosen One’s closing sectionals backed up the impressive visual, with the stayer running the tenth best final 400m of the meeting and the eighth best final 200m of the meeting.
Settled in his lounge at home in Cambridge, Forsman was delighted with the run and the reports on how his charge has pulled up after the race.
“We were rapt with that run as it was a real concern that the track was very hard by that time of the day,” Forsman said.
“He seemed to handle it really well and all reports are that he ate everything put in front of him last night and has pulled up well this morning.
“The last stages of the race were his best and he took a fair bit of ground off what appears to be a very smart horse.
“He went a tremendous race last year to finish third in the Caulfield Cup and I’d say he is definitely in the same sort of form this year.
“He carried topweight of 59kgs on Saturday and drops 5kgs for the Cup, so we are hopeful he can be right amongst it again this year.”
The Chosen One is currently rated a +2000 chance on the Fixed Odds market for the Caulfield Cup behind hot favourite Incentivise (-111.11), with Delphi now the +600 second favourite.
Forsman will now turn his attention to Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) hopeful Daario who will line-up in a maiden race over 1887m at Kyneton on Tuesday as he tries to force his way into a Derby start following a strong finish for third on an unsuitable wet track at Bendigo in his first Australian run.
“He (Daario) was very good first-up on a wet track that didn’t suit him at all,” Forsman said.
“We actually sent him over to try and escape the wet tracks and the rain seems to have followed him over there.
“He could strike similar conditions at Kyneton, but if we want to get him to the Derby then he has to run.
“At this stage a win might not even see him make the race if it is a full field as he wouldn’t have enough prizemoney to get a start, but in recent years the field for the race has fallen away a little so we will be hoping for the same this time.”
Baker and Forsman also have impressive Tauranga maiden winner Samarkand in Melbourne for a tilt at the Victoria Derby, with a decision on where he will have his first start still to be made.
“I’m not too sure where Murray wants to kick him off, but we will be having a discussion about that as there are several options for him,” Forsman said.
“There is the Neds Classic (Group 3, 2000m) at Caulfield next Saturday, the Geelong Classic (Listed, 2200m) on the Wednesday after that or the Vase at Moonee Valley (Group 2, 2040m) on Cox Plate day.
“He could be in a similar boat to Daario in respect of his low prizemoney earnings, so we will just have to play it a little by ear with him as well.”
On the local scene Forsman admitted he was a touch disappointed with promising four-year-old Frontman who finished a battling third in Saturday’s Listed Team Wealleans Matamata Cup (1600m) for rider Kozzi Asano.
“On the face of it he was a little disappointing, but it could well have been he just didn’t cope with the track as it was very holding and heavy,” he said.
“Kozzi said he felt like he might actually need a set of blinkers to just keep him focused, so that is something we will have a look at if we decide to keep him to a mile for his next start.
“At this stage we will have a think about what we do next, but I would hope he will back to his best on better ground for his next start.”