High-priced Karaka purchase Mad Max is set to make his much-anticipated debut this week, but where is yet to be decided.
Trainer Andrew Forsman, in partnership with bloodstock agent Andrew Williams, went to $575,000 to secure the Savabeel gelding out of Ohukia Lodge’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale draft last year, and he is excited about his future.
The Waikato Stud-bred three-year-old has won all three of his trials to date, his last being over 900m at Taupo last month.
He has been nominated for both New Plymouth on Thursday and Rotorua on Sunday, and will likely head to the earlier assignment after drawing barrier three in the Central Electircal & Smith & Sons Maiden (1200m).
“The track should come back to being pretty well perfect and it does look like the right race to get him going in,” Forsman said.
“His trial the other day was very encouraging and from a good draw hopefully we can achieve that (win) on Thursday.”
Forsman has been impressed by what Mad Max has shown to date, but said he is still learning his craft.
“He is only lightly tried. He has got a lot of ability, he has just been prone at times to do things a little bit upside down, he just wanted to get on with it a bit early,” he said.
“He has got good, natural, early speed and we are just trying to harness that and get him to button off and do things right, get amongst horses and learn a bit.
“He may be a horse that takes a run or two to get his head around things to the point where we have him tractable and racing well.”
Forsman will also head to New Plymouth with a couple of other debutants. Rebecchi is set to have his first raceday outing in the Nulook Aluminium Maiden (1400m), where he has drawn barrier two, while fellow debutant Lady Pappygate has drawn barrier 10 in the Return To Earth Maiden (1400m).
“Rebecchi has been a little bit disappointing at the trials to date, but he might be one of those horses that switches on come raceday,” Forsman said.
“It is always hard to get a line on certain horses at the trials and I think with him up to 1400m from a good draw he will get his chance.
“Lady Paddygate is another one that hasn’t shown up a lot at the trials. We have been trying to race her for the last two or three weeks and she keeps drawing poorly. She drew wide at Te Rapa the other day and we almost started her and now she has drawn an awkward barrier again.
“At this stage, we are getting to the point where we just need to take her to the races and see how she gets on.”
Meanwhile, Forsman was pleased with the trials of stakes winners Wessex and Ethereal Star at Te Awamutu on Tuesday.
Ethereal Star took out her 850m heat, while Wessex was runner-up behind Timing in her 1150m heat.
“Ethereal Star is coming back off a disappointing spring campaign in Australia, but I haven’t been able to fault her since she has been back, and it is nice to see her do that today,” Forsman said.
“We just wanted to see her attack the line like she did and she will improve a heap off that, both fitness-wise and confidence-wise.
“I think we will keep her closer to home for now and try and get her confidence back.
“We may consider giving her one more trial if there is something suitable around. She is a probably a good two or three weeks away from being ready to race.
“I am really happy with how Wessex is coming up. That was her second trial, so she was asked to do a little more today than she was at Taupo last time around.
“We would like to consider running her in the Group sprint (Gr.3 J Swap Sprint, 1400m) race next Saturday at Te Rapa, which might be a nice option for her to kick-off in."