Although busy on day three of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling sale, trainer Andrew Forsman was keeping a wary eye on the final fields for the prestigious Auckland Cup raceday at Ellerslie on Sunday.
Forsman and training partner Murray Baker will have three of their Cambridge stable members in on the day, with star galloper The Chosen One set to tackle one of the feature events on the card, the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m).
The six-year-old Savabeel entire comes into the contest off the back of a gritty run for third in the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa behind race rivals Coventina Bay and Vernanme, following an exceptional fresh-up victory in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham.
Forsman was pleased with how The Chosen One stuck to his task at Te Rapa after rain saw the track deteriorate to an unsuitable Slow 7 rating prior to the race.
“He is going really well and with all things considered, where he sat wide on a track he didn’t appreciate and being second up at Te Rapa, he was still very game,” Forsman said.
“The smaller field (nine runners) does help him on Sunday as he is likely to get back from the draw (7) and hopefully there is enough pace to make it a genuinely run affair.
“Coventina Bay got through the ground better than him at Te Rapa, so hopefully we can turn the tables this time.”
The Baker/Forsman team will also be represented in the second Group One contest on the day with unbeaten filly Lickety Split, who won on debut at Ellerslie last month.
The daughter of Turn Me Loose has drawn well at barrier two in the seven-horse field but will need to beat a select line-up including the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner Dynastic and unbeaten filly Maven Belle, who are both from the Jamie Richards stable.
“She is a very nice filly, who we think will be better as a three-year-old, but while she is up and going, she’s a winner, she is in the race and drawn well, so we will give it a crack,” he said.
“With her I think it is one race at a time, so we will see how she comes through before making any further plans.”
Sunday will also see the much-awaited return from injury of quality performer True Enough, with the rugged eight-year-old off the scene since November 2020.
Given three trials to fit him for his first-up assignment, Forsman is looking forward to having the nine-race winning son of Nom Du Jeu back on the racetrack.
“He has been a long time off the scene and has a few niggling setbacks, but nothing major,” he said.
“We feel like we have him right and while he is obviously an older horse that hasn’t raced for a long time, we have been working hard to get him fit and I thought he trialled up nicely at Cambridge last month.
“He’s got a big weight (62.5kgs) and you would imagine he will need this run, but we would just like to see him put in and go his usual, honest race.
“The others may have the fitness edge on him, but we are looking forward to seeing him go.”
Forsman, who will commence training in his own right when Baker retires in April, has been in attendance throughout the first three days of the National Yearling Sale at Karaka, securing Lot 217, the Snitzel filly out of Group One performer Eleonora, for NZD$600,000 on Day One and was back in action again on Wednesday where he outlaid NZD$80,000 for Lot 494, the Epaulette filly out of stakes placed mare Pipi Beel, offered by Landsdowne Park.
Baker and Forsman had trained the filly’s dam which was one of the attractions for Forsman.
“It’s been tough going each day, but we managed to buy a very nice Snitzel filly on day one and now we’ve also picked up the Epaulette filly as well,” he said.
“We trained her mother which was a big attraction and she was a lovely scopey filly who I was delighted to get.”