Gear change for Kiwi Cup hope

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The Chosen One

Trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will remove the blinkers from their Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) hope The Chosen One as they look to provide the four-year-old Savabeel entire with his best possible chance to win Australasia’s great race.

The Chosen One finished fifth in the Group 3 Hotham Handicap (2500m) on an unsuitable wet track at Flemington on Saturday in his final lead-up to Tuesday’s Cup with Forsman keen to see him settle better for his big assignment. “He’s had the blinkers on for his last few runs and he just hasn’t settled as well as we would have liked,” he said. “It was a very slow tempo on Saturday and he tugged a bit which isn’t ideal leading into a two-mile contest. “He probably didn’t handle the track that well and the way they ran the race it was hard to make up ground, so we were happy enough with the effort.”

What didn’t please Forsman was the Melbourne Cup barrier draw which will see The Chosen One start from gate 18, a barrier that has never tasted success in the 158-year history of the race. “There’s not much we can do about the draw but it would have been nice to get a little closer to the fence as we haven’t had a lot of luck like that of late,” he said. “He was vet checked straight after the race on Saturday and came through that well so now it is just a matter of getting ready for Tuesday. “He will have a quiet day on Sunday, some light exercise on Monday and that will be all we do with him before the race.”

Forsman was philosophical about the performance of the team’s other runner on the day after Long Jack finished a well beaten seventh in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) after assuming the unfamiliar role of pacemaker during the event. “He (Long Jack) was a victim of circumstances really as he jumped well and pretty much got left in front,” Forsman said. “He had one on his outside niggling at him throughout so never really got the chance to drop the bit and settle into a rhythm. “He just battled home but given the way the race went it was an okay effort.”

The Baker Forsman team will complete their Spring Carnival campaign on Thursday with stable representative Quick Thinker lining up in the Listed TCL TV Stakes (1800m) following his solid effort for fifth at Randwick last month in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).

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