IN Racing
Forsman to operate Victorian stable
Andrew Forsman has taken a significant step toward building on past successes in Australia with the announcement he will extend his training operation to a base in Victoria.
NZ Racing Desk | January 04, 2023
Andrew Forsman (left) with jockey Harry Coffey. Photo: Brett Holburt - Racing Photos

Andrew Forsman has taken a significant step toward building on past successes in Australia with the announcement he will extend his training operation to a base in Victoria.

The Cambridge horseman has secured boxes at the famed Macedon Lodge, formerly owned by leviathan owner Lloyd Williams until the complex’s sale last year to businessman and equestrian enthusiast Bruce Dixon.

While a number of details have yet to be worked through, Forsman expects his tenure to begin later this year.

“I have been looking for a while, but for a satellite stable it’s not straight forward to try and find the right fit,” he said.

“This opportunity presented itself and was well worth looking into and I’m keen to give it a go.

“We will probably be doing it on a trial basis for six months or so and we’ll start off with a small team and see if we can make it work.

“It will be later into the autumn that I would be looking to move any horses. It is probably not a bad time to get the systems going and see how it works logistically.”

The state-of-the-art Macedon Lodge has regularly housed up to 100 horses, has more than 15 kilometres of tracks, a 75-metre horse pool, 25 grass day yards, 20 spelling paddocks, a water-walker and a specialised lighting facility for convalescing horses.

The property also has on-site accommodation for staff, office facilities, entertainment areas and a staff café.

“Initially I will be looking to have about 10 horses there and there will be room to expand if it is all working okay,” Forsman said.

Macedon Lodge is located 60km north-west of Melbourne and approximately 50 minutes by road from Flemington and has produced Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) winners Efficient (2008), Green Moon (2012) and Almandin (2010) for Williams while Ethereal (2000) and Fiorente (2013) also used the facility ahead of their Flemington victories.

While a Melbourne Cup winner for Robert Hickmott, Almandin was prepared from Macedon Lodge by Liam Howley for the latter part of his racing career which included a victory in the Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m).

Howley, who has trained successfully from Kyneton, will also be training from his old base at Macedon Lodge.

“I imagine Liam will have 40 odd and I hope to have 10 initially to start of with. Bruce Dixon is keen to improve and build more boxes and there will be more scope for more trainers to go in there,” Forsman said.

“I went and had a look over there in December and one of the best things is that it’s like your own property and lots of training options with the good facilities on offer.

“It’s handy enough to the airport and the horses can be off the float and into their boxes quite quickly.

“It has an uphill gallop which is excellent and I love the fact that there are big paddocks for the horses and it is a very casual and laid-back environment that will see horses thrive.”

Decisions on which members of his team will be based at Macedon Lodge will be made in the coming months and he is currently working through staffing requirements, which will most likely see some of his senior staff in New Zealand transfer.

“Things can change with people over the next few months and I will be very reliant on the staff who are there,” Forsman said.

“It is important that they are people I know and can trust and know how I like to train the horses and can carry on the work we have done with them here.”

Forsman savoured multiple feature race successes during his decade-long training partnership with Murray Baker, for whom he worked for the best part of ten years prior to training in partnership.

The duo celebrated 25 Group One victories at home and across the Tasman, most notably with Mongolian Khan in the Caulfield Cup (2400m), while the pair also notched four New Zealand Trainers’ Premierships in that time.

Forsman hit the ground running in his own right with Mustang Valley delivering a first solo Group One win when successful in the Livamol Classic (2040m) and he also enjoyed a successful spring in Melbourne last year.

Three-year-olds She’s Licketysplit and Mr Maestro spearheaded his team with the former winning the Gr.2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) and finished third in both the Gr.1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) and the Gr.2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Mr Maestro won three races, including the Gr.3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) and the Listed Super Impose Stakes (2000m) before he finished fourth in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m).

Aegon claimed the Gr.3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield the same day as Mr Maestro won the Classic while Saint Bathans triumphed in a A$150,000 event on the undercard following an earlier win at Sandown.

“The success we had in Melbourne in the spring certainly was a big help. We got a lot of exposure and the team went well,” Forsman said.

“Mr Maestro is back in work and he will trial at Tauranga on January 17 and will more than likely resume in the Autumn Stakes (Gr.2, 1400m) on February 11 at Sandown.

“She’s Licketysplit will trial at Tauranga on the same day and whether she goes to Sydney or Melbourne is still to be decided.”

Forsman stressed that Cambridge would continue to be his main base.

“It is a brilliant facility, one of the best in Australasia,” he said.

“I have a good ownership base in Australia that were keen to support me if I could set up some sort of stable there. I know that there are a number of New Zealand based owners that would love to have the opportunity to race on a more consistent basis in Melbourne as well.

“It gives you a second option which is great. New Zealand Racing still has its place and there is a lot of good racing here that suits most horses and it is a terrific place to bring them through.

“But there will be the odd horse, especially through April until the tracks start to improve in the later part of the spring where there are really good opportunities in Melbourne for horses that have struck form and are lacking opportunities in New Zealand.

“We’re testing the waters over there and it is very exciting and hopefully I can make it work logistically.” 

Aegon Almandin Andrew Forsman Australia Bruce Dixon Cambridge Efficient Ethereal Fiorente Gr.1 Melbourne Cup Gr.1 Tancred Stakes Gr.3 Moonga Stakes Green Moon Liam Howley Gr.1 Livamol Classic Lloyd Williams Macedon Lodge Mongolian Khan Mr Maestro Murray Baker Mustang Valley Robert Hickmott She’s Licketysplit