Last season’s New Zealand Derby winner Vin De Dance capped off a tremendous day for the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable when he triumphed in a desperate three-way finish to the Listed Marks Ewen & Associates Kaimai Stakes (2000m) at Matamata.
The Roc de Cambes four-year-old was having just his second start in his latest campaign after being put aside following an unplaced run in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) back in October.
Overnight rain that saw the Matamata track rated a Slow7 after the first race played in favour of Vin De Dance, who started a well-backed second favourite behind impressive last-start Te Rapa winner, Rondinella.
Forced to sit three-wide in mid-field for stand-in rider Matt Cameron, Vin De Dance improved into contention approaching the home turn before launching his claim at the 250m mark.
Rondinella, who had tracked Vin De Dance into the race, and former Hong Kong galloper Giovanni Canaletto joined issue at the same time with the trio staging a titanic struggle that was settled in favour of Vin De Dance by a nose from Rondinella with a head back to Giovanni Canaletto in third.
The victory made it back-to-back stakes wins for the Baker & Forsman team after Aretha had taken out the Gr.2 J Swap Contractors Ltd Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) one race earlier.
“He was caught out wide in bit of a muddling run race, that didn’t pan out like a lot of people thought,” Forsman said.
“It was a bit of a slog in the run home as the track looked quite testing which might have tripped up the second horse (Rondinella), who was game.”
Forsman was pleased with how his charge had come back from his summer spell as the stable eyes a major target in Sydney in the coming months.
“He has come back better than we could have imagined and he has improved out of sight since then,” he said.
We were really happy with his work leading into this.
“We will wait and see now but there are probably options in Sydney that we have to consider, leading into something like the Sydney Cup.
“We just didn’t have time to get him ready for an Auckland Cup.”
The Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) will be raced at Royal Randwick on April 13.
The victory would not have improved the mood of Vin De Dance’s regular rider Jason Waddell who had to forego the mount after being injured when falling from two-year-old filly Appellant as she pulled up following the running of the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes earlier in the day.- NZ Racing Desk