Smart three-year-old Turn The Ace bounced back to his best form with a decisive effort at Avondale on Saturday where he led for most of the way to win over 1200m in age-group company.
The Andrew Forsman-trained son of Turn Me Loose had won his first two starts as a two-year-old, including one at Listed level, before putting together a below average campaign in the spring.
Put aside after finishing well back in the Listed Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie in January, Turn The Ace showed he had strengthened nicely during his summer break with an effortless seven-length trial win over 1000m at Avondale last month.
After having no luck first up at Te Rapa, where a tardy beginning put paid to his winning chances, a return to the scene of his trial victory worked the oracle as rider Opie Bosson sent him forward to assume control of the 1200m contest shortly after the start before dominating proceedings from then on.
Bosson had a lapful of horse turning for home and Turn The Ace duly obliged as he strode clear under his 59.5kg impost on the Heavy 10 surface to register a comprehensive five-length victory.
“Things didn’t really pan out for him first up, but he backed up what he showed us at the trials with his performance today,” Forsman said.
“He missed away slightly again but as he was drawn out a little it worked in our favour as Opie could make his way to the front and he was too strong for them once he got his own terms.
“He is a big, rangy type that needs to strengthen up even further and I think that was the issue in the spring as he was probably just a little too weak at the time.
“He has got plenty of talent and his ability to handle the cut in the tracks will stand well for him as we move through the winter.”
Forsman wasn’t sure where he would head next with his charge and would need to take a look at the winter programmes before making any further decisions.
“I was a little nervous giving away weight to a few of those today when he hadn’t really been tried on a heavy track,” he said.
“He actually got through it nicely but we will be dictated to by the programming as we head through the winter as I think he could be even better with another six months on him.
“We will probably just pick and choose his races based on track conditions, but the win today will have given him plenty of confidence for the tasks ahead.”
Turn The Ace was purchased for $30,000 by Forsman out of the Cambridge Stud draft during the Book 1 sale at Karaka in 2020 and has now won three of his 11 starts.