The Cambridge stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman is set to kick-off another exciting stable runner’s spring campaign this week, but those plans are weather dependent.
The dual stakes-placed Gundown is set to resume at Matamata on Wednesday in the Celebrating Avantage-Te Akau’s 6th Champion 2YO (1600m), but a decision on whether he will start will be left until raceday morning.
“He’s good, but he might not start yet. It’s wet down here, so we will probably wait until the morning to make a decision,” Baker said.
The High Chaparral gelding showed promise late in his three-year-old season when he was runner-up in the Gr.2 Championship Stakes (2100m) and Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m).
He has pleased his connections with his two trials this term, but Baker believes he will need the run tomorrow, where he is set to jump out of barrier two with Matthew Cameron aboard.
“We’re happy with him, he has trialled up well and once he gets over ground I think he will be a chance,” Baker said.
“I think he will probably need the run tomorrow and we’ll just work him through the grades after that.”
Meanwhile, in Melbourne, the stable’s exciting three-year-old Botti is likely to miss a start in Wednesday’s AAMI Victoria Derby Trial (1800m). The gelding is fourth emergency, so will instead head to Geelong next Monday.
Baker said the spring campaign for the son of Jakkalberry will become a lot clearer after Monday, but it was quite difficult to plot a path to the VRC Derby for a horse like Botti.
“He’ll probably go to Geelong next Monday in a 1700m BenchMark 64 and we’ll just take it from there and work it out from how he runs.
“It’s hard for a New Zealand horse (to plot a Derby path) because we don’t have a lot of prizemoney and you get eliminated from a lot of races in Australia because you just haven’t got the money and they pick the fields on prizemoney.”
The Baker-Forsman team will also have a contingent at Caulfield on Sunday where Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Vin De Dance will kick-off his spring campaign in a 1700m handicap, while Cups hopeful Bonneval will attempt to defend her title in the Gr.1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) after disappointing when fresh-up in the Gr.2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
“We are happy enough with them,” Baker said. “Vin De Dance will need the race and he has got a lot of weight, he got a bit behind in his preparation in New Zealand, but we have got to make a start.
“I thought Bonneval was disappointing (in the Dato), but she has improved in fitness and we are hoping she will go alright on Sunday.” – NZ Racing Desk