Forsman posts first solo Australian win

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Andrew Forsman has enjoyed his share of glory days in Australia, but a midweek victory in Victoria held special significance for the Cambridge trainer.

He celebrated numerous Group One victories across the Tasman during a lengthy and rewarding training partnership with Murray Baker and on Wednesday posted his first offshore win in his own right.

A healthy dose of realism and a willingness to travel for a more lucrative return resulted in a first-up success for stable runner Saint Bathans in a Benchmark 70 event over 1200m on the Lakeside track at Sandown.

Saint Bathans joined stablemate and Group 1 VRC Derby (2500m) hope Mr Maestro in Melbourne while last season’s Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) winner Lickety Split will next week also add to Forsman’s Victorian spring carnival assault.

Astute placement was a key factor in Saint Bathans powering to victory in his first appearance since finishing fourth in the Group 2 Championship Stakes (2000m) at Pukekohe in autumn.

“He’s capable and we took the punt to go over while he’s relatively well rated and try to make best use of that and get some good stakemoney while he works his way through his grades,” Forsman said.

“It was nice to see him do things right, he’s been a work in progress and has matured physically and mentally a lot into this preparation.”

A son of Maurice, Saint Bathans was a A$75,000 weanling purchase by Pinhook Bloodstock’s Dave Mee on behalf of New Zealand owners Hayden and Lisa Dillon.

“We now hope he can continue on an upward plane and keep improving. With a few more runs like Wednesday’s effort we can hopefully target some better races,” Forsman said.

Saint Bathans was ridden by Damian Lane, who has partnered Mr Maestro in both of his Australian outings.

The Savabeel colt finished a first-up fifth before a close fourth at The Valley last weekend.

“He’s still a bit green and probably didn’t handle the track as well as expected the other day. Damian said he was struggling a bit and he probably needed that run a touch,” Forsman said.

“It was a pretty testing track second-up over 1500 metres and he will keep getting better with racing. His next race is the Derby Trial (1800m) at Flemington on September 18 and ideally a couple of runs after that and into the Derby.”

Turn Me Loose filly Lickety Split will leave New Zealand next Wednesday and make her Australian debut in the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 17 ahead of the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) on October 12.

“That’s the A-Plan and she’s done a lot of what she can do here so it’s good timing given that she’s come back in such good order,” Forsman said.

“If she can measure up and get Australian black-type it will be pretty important to her value.”

Lickety Split booked her passage with her resuming victory in the Group 3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka.

Meanwhile, Forsman will have runners at Te Rapa on Saturday and leaned toward multiple stakes placegetter Mustang Valley in the Ardrossan Handicap (1200m) as his best chance.
“I think she is ready to run a big race fresh-up, she’s going really well,” he said.

White Noise was a two-time black-type winner last season and will resume in the Savabeel Handicap (1400m) while the talented Shanlord may open his campaign in the Banquo 3YO (1200m).

“It’s quite a smart field and it may be a bit sharp for White Noise, but he did trial really well. I’d probably prefer to see him second-up over a mile on better footing,” Forsman said.

“Shanlord is weather dependant and doesn’t like any wet ground. He’s in there thinking it’s the first race and if it doesn’t rain between now and Saturday we may line him up, but that’s looking pretty doubtful.”

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