Andrew Forsman has trained two previous victors of the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) in partnership with mentor Murray Baker, and he is hoping he can claim one in his own right at Te Rapa this weekend.
The Cambridge conditioner secured his first win in the race in 2015 with Mongolian Khan and doubled his tally three years later with Vin De Dance, who carried OTI Racing’s silks to victory.
The Australian syndicator’s colours will once again be represented by Forsman in this year’s running of the Auckland Thoroughbred Racing-sponsored Classic, courtesy of Full Of Sincerity.
The son of Puccini heads into Saturday off the back of a pleasing fourth placing in the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) and Forsman believes the addition of blinkers will aid his cause this weekend, albeit he acknowledged the favourite Sharp ‘N’ Smart would be hard to topple.
“It was a good run in the Avondale Guineas, much improved,” Forsman said.
“He was able to put himself in the race and had his chance. I thought he stuck it out really well.
“We put the visor blinkers on him and he worked really sharply in them on Tuesday morning. Hopefully that finds him another length or two and he can be competitive.”
Wiremu Pinn will ride Full Of Sincerity from barrier eight.
Meanwhile, Forsman was pleased with the majority of his runners across the Tasman last weekend, however, She’s Licketysplit’s autumn preparation has been curtailed after her subpar performance in the Gr.2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m).
“She had a minor bleed,” Forsman said. “She raced well below par but in some ways it was nice that there was some reason, as we know she is much better than that.
“She will come home, have a good break, and we will consider what we do with her in the spring.”
On a more positive front, stablemate Mustang Valley is on target to contest the Gr.1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) following her placing in the Gr.2 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday.
“She was just a little bit unlucky in a slowly run race and a bit of a sprint home. She was really strong through the line,” Forsman said.
“It was nice to see her go over there and measure up on a quick track and I think she has come through it really well.
“At this stage she will run in the Coolmore.”
Forsman is upbeat about the chances of Mr Maestro this weekend in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington following his runner-up result in the Gr.2 Autumn Classic (1800m).
“He is going to back-up into the Australian Guineas. It is a very good, even bunch of three-year-olds without there being a potential standout,” he said.
“I think he will be better for that run the other day. If he gets the right run in the race he could get some of it.
“Ben Melham will ride him. He does love Flemington, which is close to home where we are stabled. I am sure he will be spot on going into that.”
Saint Bathans finished seventh in his 1200m race at Randwick last Saturday and Forsman is hoping the weather plays its part ahead of his next Sydney assignment.
“He will go to the Ajax Stakes (Gr.2, 1500m) on Saturday-week at Rosehill. He just needs a touch of rain and that might bring him into it,” he said.
Closer to home, Forsman has been pleased with the progress of stakes winner Ethereal Star ahead of the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Pukekohe next Saturday.
“She trialled really well at Avondale last week. She will have a couple of good gallops next week and she will be ready for the Sistema with the blinkers on,” Forsman said.
Meanwhile, Forsman has farewelled three-year-old stakes performer Bitcoin from his barn, with the son of Tarzino sold and bound for Victoria.
“He has gone to Lindsey Smith and I think he will be well placed over there,” Forsman said. “He is going to develop into a nice, older stayer.”