An attack on the riches of the New South Wales autumn carnival by New Zealand trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman gathered momentum when stablemates The Chosen One, Regal Lion, White Noise and Marroni flew to Sydney on Saturday.
The well performed quartet will all be in action this coming weekend as they prepare to tackle Group One targets during the two-day The Championships carnival at Royal Randwick in April.
Both promising stayer Marroni and established Group One performer The Chosen One are being set for the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 9, with The Chosen One to have his lead up run in Saturday’s Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill while Marroni will tackle either the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) on the Rosehill card or the Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) a day earlier.
“We put four of them on the plane on Saturday and plan to run them all this coming weekend,” Baker said.
“Marroni and The Chosen One are both being set for the Sydney Cup, however Marroni may need to win to make it into the final field for that one.
“He was very unlucky at Ellerslie last time as he was badly interfered with during the running and was a bit stiff and sore afterwards.
“It has been pretty wet in Sydney lately and that type of track won’t worry him, but it is more a matter of ensuring he is hard fit for a race like the Sydney Cup.
“The Chosen One pulled up really well after running third in the Bonecrusher Stakes (Group 1, 2000m) at Ellerslie and he has performed well in Sydney before.
“He will start in the Tancred Stakes and then go straight to the Sydney Cup.”
The Chosen One enjoys a good record in Sydney having won the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) as a three-year-old following an unlucky run for fourth in the Group 1 ATC (Australian) Derby (2400m) while he also finished second in the 2020 Sydney Cup before running sixth in the race last year.
Three-year-old duo Regal Lion and White Noise are set to contest the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 2 after finishing third and seventh respectively in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at their last start.
The pair will tackle the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday, a race that Baker has won on five previous occasions with Our Palliser (1987), The Bill (1993), Harris Tweed (2009) along with Jon Snow (2017) and Quick Thinker (2020) when in partnership with Forsman.
“Both of our three-year-olds that we sent over have thrived since their New Zealand Derby runs, but they will need to run well this weekend to justify a start in the Derby,” Baker said.
“I don’t think a wet track will bother them too much and the tempo of the racing in Sydney will also suit them.
“Once we have seen how they go this Saturday we can confirm whether they go on to the Derby or look for another option.”
The master horseman, who hopes to make it to Sydney at some stage through the carnival, is in the final throes of his training career and is set to retire at the beginning of May, with Forsman to take the reins in a solo capacity.
Baker, also advised that Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) winner Lickety Split would attempt to complete a Group One double next month when she tackles the Group 1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni on April 2.