The win of progressive stayer Spirit Of Baz at Ellerslie on Sunday brought back some fond memories for those associated with the four-year-old mare, who is the daughter of 2005 Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Bazelle.
Bred and raced by Lorna Moore, Bazelle won seven races including the Auckland Cup and the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) while she was also placed in the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m).
Her daughter Spirit Of Baz, who is also bred and raced by Moore, looks to have inherited plenty of her mother’s ability and is starting to make her mark as she strengthens and matures with Sunday’s victory over 2100m her fourth in a 13-start career and her second in succession over a middle-distance journey.
Co-trainer Andrew Forsman, who prepares the daughter of Charm Spirit with training partner Murray Baker, believes the mare has the ability to compete at a higher level, but not until she fully matures.
“That was quite a big step up in grade on Sunday as she was up against horses that have run in open company and she won very nicely,” Forsman said.
“She is bred to take time and thankfully her owners have let us do that with her and they are reaping the rewards now.
“We think she is a Cups horse of the future, but that is most likely still six months away.
“You never say never with horses, but at this stage we will try and take her through the grades rather than throw her in the deep end in a race like the Auckland Cup.
“She still needs to develop a little more mentally as well, but when she does she has all the attributes of a good horse.”
The Baker and Forsman team also produced another promising stayer from their Cambridge operation at Trentham on Saturday when four-year-old Shocking gelding Current Surge downed a handy line up over 2200m off the back of a dominant five length maiden victory at Rotorua over the same distance.
“That was a very big win by Current Surge on Saturday as it is a race we had targeted for some time,” Forsman said.
“He is a big lump of a horse and we thought the wide open spaces at Trentham would suit him down to the ground.
“He did it tough and led for the last 700m and although he was starting to get a little tired, he kept fighting and got the win.
“He’s not the type who will handle too many runs on a firm track at this stage of his career and is still a year away from his best, so we will take care of him and look forward to next season.”
Current Surge provided the first leg of a winning double for the stable at Trentham with class performer The Chosen One putting in a huge fresh-up effort to take out the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m).
“It was fantastic to see The Chosen One go so well and he has travelled back home really well and looks bright and happy after the long trip,” Forsman said.
“He will go to the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) at Te Rapa next, where he ran second last year.
“His second-up record is not that flash, but a lot of those starts are in Australia against the best so we’re hoping he can throw off that hoodoo and perform up to expectations.”
Baker and Forsman will be well represented at Te Rapa on Wednesday where Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) candidate White Noise and former top galloper True Enough will trial over 1000m, while Regal Lion and The Night King will contest the day’s feature, the Gr.2 Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas (2000m).
“White Noise has done well since his last win over 2100m at Ellerslie and we were tossing up whether to run at Te Rapa and go to the Avondale Guineas (Gr.2, 2100m) next week as well,” Forsman said.
“In the end we decided we didn’t want to give him three runs over ground before the Derby so he can have a nice hit-out at Te Rapa under no pressure and then use the Avondale Guineas as his final Derby lead up.
“It will be good to have True Enough back in action as he has been off the scene for a long time now (November 2020).
“He is always enthusiastic in his work and had a jumpout the other day where he was pretty competitive, so the trial will be another step to getting him back to raceday.
“The Night King and Regal Lion are also Derby candidates, so this is their chance to show us they deserve to take their place at Ellerslie.”