The seven figure sale for star three-year-old Madison County may have fallen through, but the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained galloper will now get the opportunity to add an Australian Group One to his tally on Saturday.
The son of Pins will contest the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Forsman believes his charge will be competitive in the mile feature despite an interrupted preparation caused by the failed sale.
“Everything looked good from our end (for the sale), but the vetting went through to Hong Kong and they pulled pin at the last minute, which has messed his preparation up,” Forsman said.
“In an ideal world, if we were going to be running in a Randwick Guineas he would have run in the Hobartville (Gr.2, 1400m) and that would have given him a much better preparation going into it.”
Madison County will head into the Guineas fresh-up after placing behind Long Leaf in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) last start at Ellerslie in January, but Forsman is taking some solace from Madison County’s fresh-up win in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) in January.
“It’s a while between runs,” Forsman said. “Going up to a mile up against some classy horses is not how you would normally do things, but that is out of our hands. Hopefully he is classy enough to get away with it.
“He did win the (New Zealand) 2000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) at Riccarton in November, that was at a mile. He then had a break and came back in January and won a Group One mile (Levin Classic) off the back of a break.
“If any horse can get away with it, we know he has done it before. But it is another level up on Saturday.
“We think, from what he has shown at home, that he’s thereabouts. It will be interesting to see how he measures up on Saturday.”
Forsman said there have been positive reports from the team in Sydney, with jockey Tommy Berry pleased with Madison County after riding him in work on Tuesday morning.
“He’s done very well,” Forsman said. “He is a very laidback horse, he is very straightforward.
“The team over there were very happy with his work on Tuesday morning. Tommy Berry rode him and gave him a glowing report and he wants to ride him again on Thursday, so I think he is as good as we can have him going into it.”
While the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) is a potential option for Madison County next month, Forsman said there remains a query of whether he could run out the mile and a-half distance.
“He has never raced beyond a mile,” Forsman said. “That’s just the way things have panned out for him.
“On pedigree you would say he is suspect to get beyond 2000m, but he does have a great demeanor and he will give himself every chance to get over a bit of ground.
“That (his next steps) will be dictated to by what happens on Saturday.” – NZ Racing Desk