Trans-Tasman weekend for Forsman

Moonlight Magic will be one of two runners for trainer Andrew Forsman in Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

This Saturday is what everything is about for trainer Andrew Forsman – having stakes contenders on either side of the Tasman.

The Cambridge-based horseman, who also runs a satellite stable out of Flemington, will be shooting for Group 1 glory in the Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm, and will be represented in each of the stakes races at Wanganui.

His two-pronged attack in the Derby includes Group 3 performer First Innings and Group 3 winner Moonlight Magic.

“It’s very exciting to have two runners in the Derby this weekend, I am very much looking forward to it,” Forsman said.

Moonlight Magic hasn’t raced since winning the Group 3 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie last month, where First Innings finished third.

The daughter of Almanzor failed to gain a start in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben last Saturday and will head into the Derby in a fresh state.

“It has been a long time between runs,” Forsman said.

“We really wanted to run her last weekend and didn’t get in.

“It is not an ideal scenario to be going into a Derby with a gap between races like she has had, but we have got her as ready as she can be.”

Moonlight Magic has also been out of favour in the barrier draw, drawing out wide in gate 19, while First Innings has drawn the 12 marble.

“For her (Moonlight Magic), it would have been nice to have had a soft draw and a soft run. She will have to go back and hope for a little bit of luck,” Forsman said.

While Moonlight Magic couldn’t gain a start at Doomben last weekend, First Innings sealed his place in the Derby with victory over 2180m at Ipswich last Wednesday.

“It was great to get that confidence boosting win last Wednesday and I think it has topped him off nicely for the weekend,” Forsman said.

First Innings is currently a $19 fourth favourite for the Derby, while Moonlight Magic is rated a $31 winning chance by bookmakers, who have the Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman-trained Autumn Angel clearly at the head of the market at $2.60.

“Clearly Autumn Angel is the class filly and she is going to be very hard to beat,” Forsman said.

“Outside of that I think it is wide open. It is a good, even field and I think the fact that we couldn’t get in the race last weekend says that there are a lot of good, solid three-year-olds up and going at this time of the year, and it is a matter of who is up for running 2400m at this stage.”

Back in New Zealand, Forsman will send a couple of stakes contenders south to Wanganui’s meeting on Saturday.

Promising juvenile Belardi, a half-brother to Moonlight Magic, will be out to continue his winning ways in the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m).

The son of Belardo ran sixth on debut at New Plymouth earlier this month before breaking through for his maiden victory over 1100m on a Heavy 8 track at Taupo last week.

Belardi has drawn the ace barrier on Saturday where he will be ridden by Joe Doyle, on a rain-affected track, which was rated a Heavy 9 on Thursday morning.

“He is really well and he has bounced through his race at Taupo,” Forsman said.

“We are lucky to have drawn one earlier in the day (race three) and hopefully that is a good place to be, but I think it will suit him.

“I just hope that he can go down there and handle whatever track conditions will prevail. We knew that Taupo was going to be a looser Heavier track and he would get through it alright, but you never know going down there as to how he will handle whatever track conditions come up, and that will be the deciding factor for him.”

Forsman will also be seeking stakes glory with Turn The Ace, who takes a win and a placing into the Listed AGC Training Stakes (1600m).

“He is going great and it will be nice going into a race where we are not giving four or five kilos away to our opposition. I think his downfall last start was the weight he had to give to the horses that beat him,” Forsman said.

“We just have to hope that later in the day the pattern does suit a horse that will go forward, and hopefully the rail isn’t too off by that stage of the day.”

Meanwhile, at Pukekohe, the stable will be represented by City Girl in the Auckland Co-op Taxis 1200, Satin Doll in the Barfoot & Thompson 1600, and Wessex and Amazing Grace in the Elsdon Park 1400.

“I think City Girl is going really well,” Forsman said.

“It is a little hard to tell how she will handle a deep Pukekohe track. I do really like her with the swing in the weights on the favourite.

“Satin Doll is racing in good, solid form. Wessex is dropping back from stakes company, and I thought her run was really good last start, and I think she is well weighted.”

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