Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are bucking the trend and sending Australian-bound gallopers The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) and Quick Thinker (So You Think) directly to Melbourne next week.
The pair will be set on a Cups path and are set to be met by travelling foreperson Aleisha Legg, who is currently in quarantine in Sydney after being granted a travel exemption by the Australian government.
“Aleisha is in quarantine in Sydney at present and she gets out basically the day the horses arrive in Melbourne, which is Wednesday week,” Forsman said.
“As soon as she gets out of quarantine she will drive straight down to Melbourne and meet the horses at Flemington.
“She has to jump straight in a rental car and no one else is allowed in the car and she has to make her way directly over the border.”
The Chosen One and Quick Thinker will clash in the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12 and follow a weight-for-age path initially.
“They’re qualified for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, so that is the angle we have to take and I guess a few lead-up runs will tell us where we are at,” Forsman said.
“Especially with Quick Thinker, you never know coming from winning on wet tracks as a three-year-old and making that transition to taking on all-comers at the highest grade.”
Last season’s Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) winner has looked plain in two recent trials, but that is not out of character for the OTI-Racing owned entire.
“Te Rapa was okay and Taupo wasn’t very good at all, but we can’t fault him,” Forsman said.
“He is a colt and he does what he needs to and once he gets up over a bit of ground with blinkers on on raceday it will be a different story. He got left flat-footed at Taupo.”
Five-year-old stallion The Chosen One has pleased in his two trials, with the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) runner-up continuing to furnish.
Noted for their ability to produce stayers, Baker and Forsman are unlikely to be represented by any three-year-olds in Melbourne this spring, with New Zealand racing’s COVID-19 enforced hiatus denying a number of last season’s late-season two-year-olds a preparation.
“A lot of our spring three-year-olds that could have made Derby or Oaks types are probably on the back foot a little bit, having not had an autumn prep,” Forsman said.
“Something would have to jump up and put its hand up pretty quickly in the next few weeks to think about heading over.”
Meanwhile, the Cambridge stable is set to be well represented on the home front by a pair of promising three-year-olds in Unition and Suffused, which both sport the colours of the China Horse Club.
“At this stage they will both go the Northland Breeders’ Stakes (Gr.3, 1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday week,” Forsman said. “We’re really happy with them. Unition has trialled up well and obviously Suffused won well at Taupo. He is still a bit green and raw and did a few things wrong, but I am hopeful that once he gets up against better opposition and they go a bit quicker, that should work itself out.”