Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are in search of more Australian riches this weekend when The Chosen One contests the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick. The duo were to the fore when Quick Thinker won the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) last Saturday, seven days after landing the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m), and now it is the turn of his stablemate The Chosen One to show his wares in the A$1 million feature.
The four-year-old entire will carry 53.5kgs with Kerrin McEvoy booked to ride and Forsman is confident the son of Savabeel will relish the weight relief, while he has his fingers-crossed for an improved Randwick surface. “I have always thought all prep that this was his race,” Forsman said. “He has been up in the weights his last couple of runs and drops to a competitive weight on Saturday.
“Things just haven’t quite gone to suit as far as track conditions. The further in trip he has gone, he has probably needed better ground to be effective. “I think he copes with it all right (when it is wet), he just doesn’t get through it as well as some of the others as we have seen in his last couple of starts. “We are hopeful it won’t be as heavy as what he has struck the last couple of times. I think if it got back to a slow track or the worse side of good it would be ideal.”
On Thursday Randwick was rated a Soft6, but there were some showers predicted on Friday. “Whatever falls between now and race time is going to be to his disadvantage,” Forsman said. The blinkers will be removed on Saturday as The Chosen One steps up to 3200m for the second time in his career, having finished 17th in last year’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), beaten 5.2 lengths in a slowly-run edition of the Cup that played against the back-marker. “His saving grace will be that it is only a 13-horse field on Saturday and the smaller field definitely suits him,” Forsman said. “He is better ridden quietly. “The blinkers will come off. He raced a little bit keen last start. A lot lines up in his favour on Saturday but track conditions are the query.”
Forsman is wary of English raider Young Rascal, a last-start winner of the Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m). “Young Rascal is the obvious one that will be hard to beat, he was an impressive winner the other day,” he said. “At first glance, outside of him there is no one you would be really scared of like in the Melbourne Cup. He finished back in the field in the Cup but it was still a good run.”
Forsman said it was a challenge for young stayers like The Chosen One to make the progression to open age racing after their classic year. A multiple Group 3 winner at three, The Chosen One landed the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) last spring, but the best is still to come for the son of Savabeel. “Probably he struggles being a four-year-old against those seasoned stayers, he is coming off a three-year-old year and a lot of them don’t bounce at four,” Forsman said. “He is paying the price for being up against these older tough horses. He is not going bad he just needs things to go his way. “I think he has done well, all things considered, and Saturday does look like a suitable race but he will be better off once he matures and he is probably six months or even a year away from being at his physical peak.”
Forsman said it was very satisfying to add another Australian Derby to his CV with Quick Thinker, having previously tasted success with Jon Snow (2017), but it was a different feeling given he is in lockdown along with the rest of New Zealand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “It was certainly a bit different (watching the race from New Zealand) but I’ve won big races from the couch before so it was just great to get the job done,” he said. “He pulled up pretty well, so at this stage he will head to the Frank Packer Plate (Group 3, 2000m).”
With New Zealand looking to be gaining the upper hand on Covid-19, there is a chance training will resume in as little as two weeks and Forsman said plenty of thought had gone into which horses would be straight back to work. “The horses we will be kicking off with when we resume will be the ones that need education, the ones that handle wet tracks and the others will probably wait till early June and then start their early preparations,” he said. “It has been a dramatic change of pace, going from being flat out to having nothing to do and it is quite hard to get used to. “Everyone in the family has been good and is happy. It has been a good time to reflect on things and spend time with the kids.”