A gallant run for third in Saturday’s Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) has connections of the New Zealand-bred and trained The Chosen One excited about his prospects for the big event at Flemington next month, the Gr.1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The five-year-old Savabeel entire cast off some indifferent lead-up form for Saturday’s Caulfield feature to put his best foot forward in a race won by another Kiwi-bred in Verry Elleegant.
A positive ride by Daniel Stackhouse from an inside barrier saw The Chosen One stalking the leaders on the home corner before he burst to the front at the 300m. Despite being swamped in the final 100m by Verry Elleegant and European raider Anthony Van Dyck, the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained galloper fought hard to finish just a length from the winner.
Forsman credited the addition of blinkers for the race and a good barrier draw as the key elements for the improved performance after the horse had disappointed when finishing near last a week ago in the Gr.2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
“It was a massive buzz to see him do that against such a quality field,” Forsman said.
“It was very exciting and good to see him get his chance like that.
“He had had his excuses in his lead-up runs after winning first up, in that going against the weight-for-age specialists second- up in the Underwood (Gr.1, 1800m) was always going to be tough for him.
“Last weekend it was a muddling run race and he was back and wide and never really got into it.
“We thought with the blinkers on that he could turn it around although against that opposition it wasn’t going to be easy.
“The other key was the good barrier draw as he (Stackhouse) put him in a perfect spot and although he got held up a little at the top of the straight, I don’t think it cost him as two very good horses beat him.”
The Chosen One will now head straight to the Melbourne Cup on November 3 where he currently sits 24th on the order of entry for the race, with Forsman confident the big, roomy Flemington track will suit him much better than Caulfield.
“It was good to see him get every chance on Saturday and just the type of run you want to see heading into a Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“We’ve been confident for quite a while that he was always going to get a start at Flemington and it was the Caulfield race where we had some doubts.
“There are a few new internationals to come into the mix for the Melbourne Cup but we know on what he has done yesterday and that he has run a strong two miles in the past, that he has to be given a chance.
“Flemington really suits him so it comes down to whether he can get another good barrier draw and if he does, then he is a strong top-five chance in the race.”
While the result brought plenty of satisfaction to the Baker-Forsman camp, they were left scratching their heads earlier in the day after quality galloper True Enough finished well back in Saturday’s Gr.3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m), in his first race of a new campaign.
“It wasn’t like him as he never raised a gallop,” Forsman said.
“He pulled up well, like he hadn’t even had a race, so we’re not sure what to make of that.
“We’ll give him a good going over on Monday morning and see if we can find anything as he was a beaten horse a fair way out.
“Provided he checks out well, we will press on with some of the weight-for-age races at the end of the year his main targets.”