Kiwi training star Andrew Forsman is diving deeper into Australian racing in coming months, and he will be bringing one of Australia’s biggest names to the Karaka Million meeting.
Forsman has secured the services of champion jockey Damian Lane for two of his big guns, Ethereal Star and The Intimidator, for their $1 million targets at Pukekohe on January 21.
Lane is one of the best jockeys in Australia and a force on the world stage after several successful sojourns in Japan.
“It is great to have Damian, who has ridden for me a lot, coming to the meeting, he is a genuine world-class rider,” says Forsman.
Ethereal Star has been one of the long-time favourites for the Karaka Million and will have her final public hit-out with an exhibition gallop at today’s Pukekohe meeting.
“She has done really well since she won her last start there, so she is on target, but it is going to be a very even Million,” says Forsman.
While Forsman has Lane pairing with his million-dollar runners in two weeks, he is also expanding into Australia as he will take boxes at the famous Macedon Lodge complex 50 minutes from Melbourne in a few months.
Forsman tasted enormous success in Victoria with now-retired training partner Murray Baker, but had a magic spring there in his first year as a solo trainer, and says while setting up a satellite stable does not mean any long-term move to Victoria, he hopes to have a permanent presence there.
“Cambridge is still going to be my main stable but I think having boxes in Victoria will appeal to both owners there and the ones here who would love their horses to campaign in Australia,” says Forsman.
“The Macedon Lodge property is outstanding, so I am thrilled to secure some boxes there, and ideally, if it works out how we hope, I’d like the option of having a permanent base there but with the bulk of the stable back here.”
Forsman takes two smart three-year-olds to Pukekohe today in Full Of Sincerity (R4, No 3) and Bitcoin (R5, No 8) and says the prospect of a surprisingly good track would suit Bitcoin better.
“They are both nice horses but Full Of Sincerity might find 1500m on a good track a bit sharp, whereas I am willing to forgive Bitcoin his last-start failure and think he can go well.”
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing track manager Jason Fulford said Pukekohe was a slow5 yesterday but could improve to a good4 by today.
“The track was a lot better than we thought and is a very good trying track so we might be racing on a good surface,” says Fulford.
Today’s meeting hosts juvenile contenders for the Karaka Million (race one) as well as potential contenders for the New Zealand Derby in races four and five. Meanwhile, last season’s best two-year-old filly Maven Belle returns in race two and trainer Mark Walker suggests she is ready to win, even after missing the spring through injury.