Melbourne Cup realistic target for young Kiwi stayer

The Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be a likely target for The Chosen One this spring. -  Photo: Bruno Cannatelli
The Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be a likely target for The Chosen One this spring.

Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman were delighted with the gallant performance of The Chosen One, who finished second to fellow New Zealand raider Etah James in Saturday’s Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m).

The Chosen One finished 0.2 lengths behind the winner on a less than ideal Heavy8 surface.  

“It was obviously a very testing track and I was actually surprised how well he performed on it,” Forsman said.

“In the end, the track conditions probably cost him. The winner had a 2kg pull in the weight and probably got through the ground a bit better than he did but all things considered, it was a very brave run.”

The removal of blinkers and a quality ride from Kerrin McEvoy aided the son of Savabeel, who looks to have a bright staying future. 

“Blinkers off definitely helped,” Forsman said. “He switched off nicely.

“I think early in his preparation the blinkers are required, but it is probably something we need to be mindful of in the future that once he gets out over a bit of a trip, they probably need to come off. 

“When he is racing at that mile to 2000m range, the blinkers help keep him sharper, but once he is beyond 2000m, he probably doesn’t need them.”

The Chosen One will head for a spell on Tuesday and given the current suspension of trans-Tasman equine flights due to Covid-19 restrictions, the four-year-old will remain in Australia for the majority of the year. 

“He will stay based in New South Wales and go back into work in early June,” Forsman said. 

“We will get him going and we will have to work out a path as to what we do with him in the spring. 

“Bjorn (Baker) has sorted out a place for both our horses (The Chosen One and Quick Thinker) to go and obviously as things stand, there is no point making plans for bringing them home because we want to campaign them in Australia in the spring anyway. 

“We will give them a spell and when they go back into work we will look to send a staff member across to oversee things.”

A Group Two winner and multiple Group One placed, The Chosen One is one of the best staying prospects of his year and Forsman believes a tilt at the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), a race in which he finished 17th last year, will be high on the spring agenda. 

“Another year under his belt and a more mature horse, I think he will be much better off,” he said. 

“With that placing in the Sydney Cup, it should go a long way to getting him in to a Melbourne Cup, especially given there might not be as large overseas presence as there has been in the last few years.

“It will probably be an easier race to get in and probably more winnable too.”

The Chosen One was bred by famed Southland breeders the Dennis brothers from their good race mare The Glitzy One, who won eight races up to 2500m and was nine times black-type placed under the training of Steve Anderton. She is also a daughter of multiple Group One winner The Jewel. 

The Chosen One’s good temperament in addition to his deep pedigree have enabled the well-bred entire to keep his under-carriage intact.   

“Touch wood, he is still relatively young and he has been good so far,” Forsman said. “I think if we keep the routine the same and keep doing what we’ve been doing with him, I don’t think that will change. 

“His attitude has been good the whole way through.”

While disappointed to come up marginally short in the Sydney Cup, Forsman was delighted for Matamata horseman Mark Lupton and his wife Cath, who part-own winner Etah James.

“It was great for Mark and Cath,” he said. “To see them get a result like that was awesome and if we had to be beaten by anyone, it was good that it was another Kiwi. 

“It would have been nice to have beaten them, but it was a strong win from a horse that has always been thereabouts. 

“They ran (the late) Scott Richardson’s farm for many years and we have had a good association with them.

“Mark has done a lot of the pre-training on our horses of Scott’s and we have had a fair few horses agist and spell with them over the years, so we were delighted for them.” – NZ Racing Desk