Andrew Forsman has delved into his box of tricks in an attempt to conjure up a form reversal from The Chosen One at Doomben on Saturday.
The Cambridge trainer will do what he can to get the best out of the six-year-old in the Gr.1 Doomben Cup (2000m), but acknowledges that circumstances out of his control present the biggest hurdle.
The course was rated a Heavy 8 today and further rain looms in the forecast.
“It’s pretty gloomy so there is a lot against the horse with the weather and he’s coming off a bad run, which we couldn’t really get our head around,” Forsman said.
The Chosen One beat only one runner home under jockey Hugh Bowman on a heavily rain-affected track in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at his last appearance.
“Hugh made a few comments after the Sydney Cup and maybe we rode him a bit too aggressively and he didn’t get into a great rhythm, breathing-wise,” Forsman said.
“We’ll ride him quietly in a small field. He’ll be out the back doing his own thing and we know that if he does run up to his best form he will be competitive.”
Forsman will also tinker with gear additions for The Chosen One, who won the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) earlier this year before consecutive third placings in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m), Gr.1 Bonecrusher Stakes (2000m) and Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) ahead of the Sydney Cup.
“We will change some gear to try and spark him up, knowing that if he puts in another poor performance it could be his last run,” he said. “I’ll put blinkers on him and a tongue tie and a nose band.
“It’s a shame that he’s not going to get a reasonable track, that’s the big factor for him. Being a little bit fussy about things now, he clearly doesn’t need a heavy track.”
Should The Chosen One prove competitive, he will bow out in the Gr.2 Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
“If he measures up and runs well we will press on and that would be his last run,” Forsman said.
His young stablemate Meritable has done well since he ran fourth on a wet track in the Gr.3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) in the Snitzel colt’s first appearance since his runner-up finish in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in the spring.
“He got through the going better than a lot of them and for a horse that hadn’t run for such a long time, the run held a lot of merit,” Forsman said.
“He has improved a heap and I’m really looking forward seeing him getting up to 1400m.”
Meritable will step out next on Saturday week in the Gr.3 Fred Best Classic (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
The stable will also be keeping a close watch on Rosehill where Marroni runs in the Listed City of Parramatta Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) off the back of a last-start sixth in the Listed Gosford Cup (2080m).
On the home front at Te Rapa on Saturday, Forsman will be represented by Turn The Ace in the Champion Freight 3YO (1100m) and So Wicked in the Direct Fat & Oils Handicap (1400m).
Turn The Ace was unbeaten in two juvenile outings, including victory in the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes (1100m), but his subsequent spring and summer form was patchy.
“He wasn’t racing as good as he could or should. He is a big, rangy horse and maybe he was going through a growing phase,” Forsman said.
Turn The Ace was a recent seven-length trial winner on soft going at Avondale and that might be a sign of things to come.
“We’ve given him some time to strengthen and he didn’t seem to miss a beat in that ground, which was encouraging given what we have coming up in the next month or two,” Forman said.
“It was only a trial, but that would have given him a fair bit of confidence.”
So Wicked also won at the Avondale trials ahead of her return following a successful spell with Chris Waller in Sydney, where she won five races.
“I think she will run well, although the 1400m might be a bit sharp for her,” Forsman said.
“I’m looking forward to getting her going and we’d like to get some black type on her CV, we might look at the weight-for-age race at Wanganui (Listed AGC Training Stakes, 1600m).
“Maybe we could freshen her up after that and have a few more cracks at black type into the spring and then I’d imagine they would look at breeding from her.”
The Street Cry seven-year-old is raced by breeder David Paykel and is out of the Zabeel mare So Pristine, winner of the Gr.2 Queen of the South Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville.