The powerful New Zealand stable of Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman is confident of a competitive showing from Jon Snow in Saturday's $5 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m). The Australian Derby winner is expected to be at his peak after three runs this campaign, including his most recent effort when 7th behind Winx in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. "His work since then has been very good and he is ready to run a top race, particularly if we can get some give in the ground," Forsman told NZ Racing Desk. "There has been some rain forecast later in the week but you just never know what you will get. He goes best when there is some rain around so it would be nice if the forecasters were right." Forsman added: "Regardless of what we do strike he has had a good prep and we have done what we feel is best for him."
Co-trainer Andrew Forsman expects classy Kiwi stayer Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly) to appreciate the big open spaces at Flemington when he lines up against Winx in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on Saturday. Jon Snow showed he was on track for his primary spring targets - the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups - with an excellent third behind Grunt in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on 15 September. "Saturday looks suitable - big roomy track, up to 2000 metres looks ideal," Forsman told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "We want to get him away from Caulfield as much as we can. He's a big striding horse and he seemed to struggle getting around Caulfield last preparation. It would be nice to run him in the Caulfield Cup but ideally we want to give him his lead-up runs at Flemington."
Star Kiwi stable-mates Jon Snow and Bonneval are likely to continue their spring carnival campaigns in the Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on 30 September. Jon Snow showed he was on track for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups with an excellent third in Saturday's Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), while Bonneval resumed from a long layoff with a ninth in the Gr2 Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley ten days ago. "I thought he [Jon Snow] was very good on Saturday as it was only his second run back and he will take a ton of improvement from it," co-trainer Murray Baker told NZ Racing Desk. "It was an outstanding field with nine Group One winners in it, so to see him fight on so strongly was very pleasing. I’m not quite sure where we will go next with Jon Snow but the Underwood at Caulfield is a likely option for him." Baker added: "Bonneval is going there as well and I will be looking for an improved showing from her. I wasn’t disappointed with her race at Moonee Valley as she had only had the one trial leading in to it, so we were behind the eight ball a bit with her."
At Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, Waikato Stud's deceased multiple champion sire O'Reilly (Last Tycoon-Courtza, by Pompeii Court) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO New Zealand-bred entire Grunt (O'Reilly-Ruqqaya, by Van Nistelrooy) returned to his brilliant best when scoring a dashing 2 length win in the $750,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Kings Will Dream & Jon Snow. Grunt, who was bred by Trelawney Stud and sold as part of its 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Draft for $220,000, improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Australian Guineas & Gr3 CS Hayes Stakes) and 1 placing from 8 starts for $1,214,250 in earnings. Being out of a half-sister to 5-time Gr1 winner and Cox Plate hero Ocean Park, Grunt is now one of the most valuable stallion prospects in the country. Trainer Mick Price, who predicted Grunt would improve significantly once he stepped up to a mile, made the surprise announcement that Grunt may bypass the Cox Plate to run in the Melbourne Cup. "It wouldn't worry me if we ended up in the Melbourne Cup with a lighter weight given his liking for Flemington," Price told racing.com. "He's got 54kg in the Melbourne Cup. It didn't hurt Rekindling to be lightly raced so I'll take a line out of that. I would run him in it. He's sound. He settles. This is his track. I know he's a clean-winded horse." Price added: "If that's the case, we would go through the Caulfield Cup."
Star Kiwi mare Bonneval has tuned up for a return trip to Australia with a fourth in a barrier trial at Taupo on Wednesday, reports NZ Racing Desk. Bonneval's stable-mate Jon Snow, who will resume in the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings, finished second in the same trial. "She blew out late. It was a truly run trial, so that was probably not what Bonneval needed - such a hard hit-out chasing a strong pace," said Andrew Forsman, who trains in partnership with Murray Baker. "She just knocked-up on her run, but I am still happy with the way she is coming up. A horse like Jon Snow has had a trial and is more forward than she is." Forsman added: "We will just see how she comes through the trial but the plan would be to get her over to Melbourne in the next week or so and do similar things to what she did last year." Bonneval missed the entire autumn due to a suspensory ligament issue, while Jon Snow also skipped the autumn with niggling foot problems. A winner of the New Zealand & Australian Oaks double as a 3YO, Bonneval (Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) returned at four to win the Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and the Gr2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne last spring. Her most recent performance was a 14th placing in the Caulfield Cup on 21 October.
Beautifully named Gr1 ARC New Zealand Stakes (2000m) winning gelding Saint Emilion has signalled a productive campaign in in store following a recent 1200m trial win at Avondale this week, reports NZ Racing Desk. Leading in his customary fashion, Saint Emilion cruised to the line to defeat stablemate Highlad by a head. Co-trainer Andrew Forsman enthused, "They both trialled up really well. Saint Emilion was as competitive as usual, but Matt [Cameron] felt he didn't really cop the track. He could possibly kick off in the open 1600m at Te Rapa and so could Highlad. He (Highlad) is also coming up well." Both Saint Emilion and Highland appear to have thrived since pre-spell wins in the Gr3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) and Gr3 Rotorua Cup (2200m) respectively and add additional fire power to a Baker-Forsman stable that includes guns Bonneval, Zacada, Jon Snow, together with Mongolian Marshal and Madison County (both also heat winners at Avondale) and promising juveniles Rubira and Botti. Interestingly, Saint Emilion (by Mastercraftsman) is assumedly named after the 8th Century Italian monk of the same name who carved his hermitage into a rock.
All finalists have been confirmed for the New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards, reports NZ Racing Desk. The category winners, together with Horse of the Year and the NZTR award for Outstanding Contribution to Racing, will be announced at a black-tie dinner in Auckland, at Ellerslie Racecourse, on Sunday 26 August. The major categories are:
Click here to view full list of categories and confirmed winners.
Meanwhile, Andrew Forsman says he is looking forward to see stable stars Bonneval and Jon Snow back in action in the spring. Bonneval, the reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year, missed the entire autumn due to a suspensory ligament issue, while Jon Snow has overcome the niggling foot problems that also saw him skip the autumn. Both horses are likely to campaign in Melbourne and be entered in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. "That was probably our biggest disappointment that we never got to see the best of those two this season but they are both coming up as well as ever for the new season," Forsman told NZ Racing Desk. "Bonneval is a lot stronger than she was this time last season and if she stays sound and takes that to the racetrack, she'll be competitive wherever she goes." Forsman added: "We've got a strong team ready to go for spring so we've got our fingers crossed we can do it all again."
Meanwhile, the champion stable of Cambridge trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman have also confirmed that Gr1 Australian Derby winner Jon Snow, Gr1 New Zealand Derby winner Vin de Dance, and Gr1 Sydney Cup runner-up Zacada will race in Australia in the spring, reports NZ Racing Desk. Jon Snow's primary target is still to be confirmed, but Vin de Dance and Zacada will be aimed at the Melbourne Cup. "All looks well with Jon Snow. He's got over the niggling foot problems, and Zacada was obviously runner-up in the Sydney Cup and we'll look at the Melbourne Cup with him," said Forsman. "Vin de Dance will get over there again. He ran well (for fourth placings) in the Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby."
Reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year Bonneval is close to returning to the Cambridge yard of trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, reports NZ Racing Desk. The multiple Group 1 winner's planned autumn campaign in Australia was aborted in February after connections discovered she was suffering from a suspensory ligament issue. "She's looking good and she'll be back in the stable next week, along with Jon Snow and we are hopefully looking toward the Melbourne spring with them again," said Baker. A winner of the New Zealand & Australian Oaks double as a 3YO, Bonneval (Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) returned at four to win the Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and the Gr2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne last spring. Her most recent performance was a 14th placing in the Caulfield Cup on 21 October.
Global powerhouse sires from the ranks of Australasia’s best stud farms will be represented at the fast-approaching 2018 National Yearling Sales with preceding feature-race winners boosting their demand. Waikato Stud titan and reigning Champion New Zealand Sire Savabeel made a clean sweep of New Zealand’s major sire awards for the second consecutive season and is the sire of Gr1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Embellish, among others. Amassing an aggregate of $11.46 million in the Premier session alone last year, his 2018 Karaka crop features an impressive 75 yearlings in Book 1 including full siblings to Group 1 winners Costume (Lot 163) and Brambles (Lot 493). There are also the progeny of Group 1 winning dams A Touch of Ruby (Lot 44), Irish Fling (Lot 280), Katie Lee (Lot 301) and Legs (Lot 336). Another sire with significant representation at Karaka 2018 is Haunui Farm’s Iffraaj who sired a Group 1 Derby winner on both sides of the Tasman last season – Gingernuts in the New Zealand Derby and Jon Snow in the Australian Derby. The Champion 3YO Sire in New Zealand will have 39 progeny at Karaka across all three Book’s including a full-sister to Champion Sprinter and multiple Group 1 winner Turn Me Loose (Lot 272) and a half-sister to Group 1 winner I Am a Star (Lot 619). Cambridge Stud's Tavistock will be represented by the largest crop with 96 of his yearlings to go under the hammer across Book 1 and Book 2 including a full-sister to Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther (Lot 48). Click here to view a detailed synopsis of the sire talent at Karaka 2018.
Karaka 2018 Schedule
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for Australia's most famous race - the $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) to be run at Flemington racecourse tomorrow. The Irish-trained stayer Thomas Hobson has secured the final spot in the 24-horse field following the withdrawal of Jon Snow on veterinary advice. Interestingly, the 24-horse field is split evenly between locally trained runners and international raiders. First run in 1861 when won by Archer, the Melbourne Cup boasts an honour roll that features some of the greatest names of the Australian turf including Carbine (1885), Phar Lap (1930), Peter Pan (1932/34), Comic Court (1950), Rising Fast (1954), Light Fingers (1965), Galilee (1966), Rain Lover (1968/69), Think Big (1974/75), Let's Elope (1991), Saintly (1996), Might And Power (1997), Ethereal (2001), and Makybe Diva (2003-05). This year, defending champion Almandin is currently the $8.50 TAB fixed odds favourite, ahead of Gr2 Prix Kergolay winner Marmelo at $9 and Cox Plate runner-up Humidor at $9.50. Should he be successful, the German-bred Almandin will become just the fifth horse in history to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups, joining inaugural Cup winner Archer (1861 & 62), Rain Lover (1968 & 69), Think Big (1974 & 75) and Makybe Diva (2003-05). The Aidan O'Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer, who put in an eye-catching Melbourne Cup trial when a fast-finishing third in the Caulfield Cup, heads those runners at double figure odds at $10. Click below to view the Melbourne Cup and all other stakes fields for Tuesday.
The connections of Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly) believe the Kiwi stayer will relish the wide open spaces at Flemington in next Tuesday's $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), reports NZ Racing Desk. "The main thing for him is getting away from Caulfield and on to a bigger track will really suit him," said Andrew Forsman, who trains the 4YO with Murray Baker. Last year's Australian Derby winner is starting to strike form at the right time, winning the Gr3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley three starts back before finishing third in the Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m). He was then a victim of interference in the straight when unplaced (9th) in the Caulfield Cup (2400m). "He's doing well and he had a good gallop this morning and Stephen Baster is happy that the horse is on target," Forsman said. "It's hard to go into a race like this too confident when they haven't run the trip before and the form lines are so hard to work out, but he is very well."
Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will decide in the next few days whether Lizzie L'Amour will join stable-mates Bonneval and Jon Snow in the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 5YO daughter of Zabeel, who hails from the outstanding Best in Show family of champion sire Redoute's Choice, turned in a sub-par performance when unplaced behind Folkswood in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on Sunday. "She got a long way back and never got into the race," Baker said. "She hasn't had a lot of luck in her three runs over here." Baker added: "She pulled up well so I'll speak to the owners about whether we pay up for the Cup. There are a lot of other options to discuss for her." A winner of the Gr1 New Zealand Stakes in March, Lizzie L'Amour was a first-up seventh in the Gr2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) when pulling up with atrial fibrillation, before a most unlucky sixth in the Gr2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
While Kiwi mare Lizzie L'Amour may be under a cloud for Saturday's $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), her stable-mates Bonneval and Jon Snow have been declared in top order for the world's richest mile-and-a-half handicap. Bonneval and Jon Snow have both been in excellent form this campaign with the former winning both the Gr2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes and Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), before running sixth in Saturday's Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m). "I'm very happy with her. She was last at the 800m and got baulked a couple of times in the straight," co-trainer Murray Baker told NZ Racing Desk. Jon Snow followed up his Gr3 JRA Cup (2040m) win with a solid third placing in the Caulfield Stakes behind the winner Gailo Chop. "He had to run a fast first 600m to get a position and he did very well," Baker said. "Both horses are right on target."
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, French-bred 6YO gelding Gailo Chop (Deportivo-Grenoble, by Marignan) made it a day to remember for his owners OTI Racing when leading throughout to notch the second top-flight win of his career in the $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Johannes Vermeer & Jon Snow. This was Gailo Chop's second Group One success since his win in the Gr1 McKinnon Stakes (now Cantala Stakes) in October 2015. Gailo Chop, who appears to have returned better than ever after a long stint on the sidelines due to a tendon injury, improved his record to 10 wins (including the Gr1 Mackinnon Stakes, Gr3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte & Listed Penny Edition Stakes) and 5 placings (Gr1 Prix d'Ispahan) from 21 starts for $2,267,297 in earnings. Gailo Chop will now head to the Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 28 October but trainer Darren Weir concedes he will only be racing for the minor end of the prize. "Obviously it will be good to have a runner in the Cox Plate but when you see Winx last week, it will be hard for anything to beat her," Weir said. "Gailo Chop has got fitter and stepped up in distance and it just looked like a race today that if he could get to the front he would be able to control it." Weir added: "He got some cheap sectionals down the back and then gave a good kick."
Co-trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are set to add to their Melbourne spring carnival string with lightly raced Victoria Derby hopeful Vin De Dance, reports NZ Racing Desk. The high-profile New Zealand stable already has Group One winners Bonneval, Jon Snow and Lizzie L'Amour in Melbourne along with three-year-old Weather With You who is also on a Derby path. Vin De Dance races in the colours of OTI Racing and won a 1200m maiden on debut last month in New Zealand on heavy ground before finishing second in Benchmark 65 races over 1400m and 1600m at Te Rapa. "Vin De Dance heads over on Wednesday," Forsman said. "He's a Derby candidate. He's a lightly tried son of Roc De Cambes that is owned by OTI. They want to have a crack at a Derby." Forsman added: "He's run three very good races and if he can stay he'll be competitive." The $1.5 million Gr1 Victoria Derby (2500m) will be run at Flemington on 4 November.
The spring campaign of 2016 Australian Derby winner Tavago is over, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trent Busuttin, who trains with his partner Natalie Young, revealed the 5YO Tavistock gelding has been sent to the paddock following his unplaced run behind Jon Snow in the Gr3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 29 September. "He pulled up sore again so he's gone straight to the paddock. We'll concentrate on the autumn with him when the tracks are wetter," Busuttin said. "You've got to be smart about it and do the right thing by the horse."
At Moonee Valley in Melbourne, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) celebrated an elite success when 4YO New Zealand-bred entire Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly) outstayed his rivals with a strong on-pace win in the $200,000 Gr3 JRA Cup (2040m) for 3YO+, defeating Ecuador & Boom Time. Jon Snow, who was purchased by his co-trainer Andrew Forsman for $65,000 at the 2015 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Haunui Farm, advanced his record to 4 wins (including the Gr1 Australian Derby & Gr2 Tulloch Stakes) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 ARC New Zealand Derby) from 15 starts for $1,741,870 in earnings. "That was pleasing," co-trainer Murray Baker said of Jon Snow's return to form. "We thought he would go a bit better tonight. He needed the distance. He's a good stayer." Jon Snow – who is being aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the spring - hails from the top-producing NZ family of Gr1 Maori Stakes winner Culminate, New Zealand Oaks winner Solveig, Lion Brown Sprint (now Gr1 Waikato Sprint) winner Soliloquy, and Gr3-winning sire Greig.
Kiwi 3YO Weather With You (Teofilo-Tarique, by Rock of Gibraltar) will continue his Classic preparation when he contests the Victoria Derby Trial (1800m) at Flemington today, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman-trained gelding, who races in the same green and black epaulette colours as multiple Gr1 winning miler Turn Me Loose, was brought to Melbourne for the Spring along with Gr1-winning stable mates Bonneval, Jon Snow and Lizzie L'Amour. The son of Teofilo will be having the second start of his campaign after finishing second in a 1400m maiden at his Australian debut at Sandown on 6 September. "I thought he ran well," Baker said. "I certainly think he will be better suited up to the 1800 metres. It's a nice big track and he's a staying horse who should come into his own the further he goes." Baker said the stable earmarked the Victoria Derby as a target for Weather With You after his second to Qiji Phoenix in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie in April. "After he ran second in that, and got beaten by a very good horse, we thought we might have a look at the Derby," Baker explained. "Jezabeel won that race and Kibbutz ran third in that race." Jezabeel went on to win the 1998 Melbourne Cup while Kibbutz won the 2007 Victoria Derby.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Lizzie L'Amour (Zabeel-Sabia, by Sadler's Wells) will need luck on her side if she is to join her stable-mates Bonneval and Jon Snow in the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 21 October, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 5YO daughter of Zabeel, who hails from the outstanding Best in Show family of champion sire Redoute's Choice, is currently ranked 41st in the order of entry, but Baker is not overly concerned. "It's early days," he said. "They drop out a lot, so we'll just wait and see what happens." There are 12 internationals ahead of Lizzie L'Amour in the order of entry, but only five of those - Admire Deus, Francis of Assisi, Steel of Madrid, Johannes Vermeer and Marmelo – are expected to line up in the world's richest mile-and-a-half handicap. A winner of the Gr1 New Zealand Stakes in March, Lizzie L'Amour was prima facie disappointing when resuming with a seventh placing in the Gr2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m), however a subsequent diagnosis of atrial fibrillation was revealed as the reason. "She's been good as gold since," Baker said. "She's had a jump out and has passed everything. We just left it to the vet to treat her, she's righted herself and everything is okay." Lizzie L'Amour is set to make her next appearance in the Gr2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Friday week.
Champion New Zealand trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will be represented by feature race contenders on both sides of the Tasman tomorrow, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Cambridge-based horsemen have last season's Australian Derby winner Jon Snow (Iffraaj) continuing his Melbourne Cup campaign in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, while budding star mare Francaletta (High Chaparral) lines up in the Gr3 Metric Mile at Awapuni. "We're happy with him [Jon Snow] but it's a very strong field and for him it's another step on his pathway to the Cups," Baker said. "He's drawn well and he would have taken improvement from his run the other day [6th in the Gr1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield]. He went very well and if he hadn't been tightened, he might have run fourth." Baker added: "I wouldn't say he would be winning this, but it is a race that fits in with his programme. You've got to be running them every two weeks to get them fit." Meanwhile, Francaletta will start favourite in the Metric Mile as she attempts to win her sixth race from seven starts after an emphatic first-up sprint win at Hastings earlier this month. "It's a tough ask second-up jumping from 1200m to a mile but it's a stakes race and she deserves her shot," Baker said. "We are hoping the track doesn't get too heavy because then it becomes an even harder task. But we're happy with her. She's a good galloper and we think she's fit enough." Baker said he is yet to make any plans for the 5YO beyond Saturday.
Hartnell has been allocated top weight for the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) to be run at Caulfield racecourse on 21 October. The Godolphin star looked to have returned from a break in career best form when scoring a brilliant first-up win in the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on 19 August. Entered to run in Saturday's Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, Hartnell is currently the $6.50 TAB favourite for the Caulfield Cup ahead of top-class New Zealand mare Bonneval at $8. The Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman prepared mare, who marked herself as a high class stayer in the making when claiming the Australian and New Zealand Oaks double last season, has been allocated 52.5kg. Other notable entries and their respective weights are Almandin with 56.5kg, New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts with 55kg, Australian Derby winner Jon Snow with 54.5kg, Curragh Cup winner Rekindling with 52kg, and dual Oaks winner Egg Tart with 51.5kg. Click here to view the full list of Caulfield Cup weights.
Top-class New Zealand mare Bonneval has dominated the 2017 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards in Auckland overnight, reports NZ Racing Desk. Bonneval’s connections spent much of the night on stage as the dual Oaks winner was voted Horse of the Year, Three-Year-Old of the Year and Stayer of the Year. Her owners were also presented with the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year trophy. In addition, Bonneval’s trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, gained all bar one of the 57 votes cast for Trainer of the Year and Bonneval’s dam, Imposingly, was named Broodmare of the Year. Bonneval is the first three-year-old filly to be named Horse of the Year since Sunline in 1999. She is also the fourth successive Horse of the Year winner to be trained by Baker and Forsman, following Dundeel (2014) and Mongolian Khan (2015 & 2016). Voting for Horse of the Year turned into a three-way battle, with Bonneval receiving 27 votes to comfortably defeat Gingernuts by 12 votes. Kawi, the Middle Distance Horse of the Year, gained 10 votes with three for another three-year-old in Jon Snow. Click here to view all the category winners.
The 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring Weight-For-Age Championship heats up on Saturday with the running of the second leg, the $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. The prize money for the Memsie Stakes has doubled this year from $500,000 to $1 million, a move that has been rewarded with a sensational field for the first Group One race of the 2017-18 Australian racing season. Hartnell (Authorized) won the first leg of the Series, the $200,000 PB Lawrence Stakes on 19 August, but is bypassing Saturday's race. A stellar cast of proven elite performers will be out to move up the points table in his absence. Nine of the 12 runners are Group 1 winners, including last year's winner Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) and the high-class Karaka graduates Jon Snow (Iffraaj) and I Am A Star (I Am Invincible). The Series will have a new leader if either Charmed Harmony (8 points, 2nd in Leg 1) or Black Heart Bart (6 points, 3rd in Leg 1) finish in the first three on Saturday, while a Memsie Stakes win by Tosen Stardom (3 points, 5th in Leg 1) or Humidor (1 point, 6th in Leg 1) would send them to the top of the table. The NZB Memsie Stakes will be run as Race 7 with a start time of 4:10pm (6:10pm NZT). Click below to view the NZB Memsie Stakes field.
Australian Derby winner Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly) will be the first of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman's quartet of Melbourne spring carnival contenders to step out when he resumes in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 4YO entire will be ridden by local jockey Stephen Baster. "Over 1400 metres in that class of field might be a bit sharp for him, but he travelled over well and galloped strongly under Baster this morning [Tuesday]," Forsman said. Jon Snow was accompanied to Australia by fellow Group One winners Bonneval and Lizzie L'Amour, who will resume in the Gr2 Dato Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday week. Three-year-old Teofilo gelding Weather With You is likely to open his Victoria Derby campaign next week at Sandown. "At this stage he'll run in a three-year-old 1400 metre maiden," Forsman said.
A well-related recent arrival by Iffraaj could be worth a whole lot more in the coming weeks, reports NZ Racing Desk. The filly was foaled at Attunga Stud in the Hunter Valley just days before the arrival in Melbourne on Saturday of her Australian Derby-winning brother Jon Snow. The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Jon Snow will make his seasonal reappearance in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. Further feature race success for Jon Snow, who is being aimed at the Caulfield Cup, will significantly boost his sibling's value. "We'll see, but whatever happens this filly is worth an awful lot," said Highview Stud's Brent Gillovic. "It's a beautiful female family." Gillovic purchased the youngster's dam Orinda (O'Reilly) on behalf of his business partner Peter Yip, of the Hong Kong Breeders' Club. Orinda is set to be covered by reigning Champion Australian Sire Snitzel this spring.
Gr1-winning colt Hall Of Fame has been purchased for a seven figure sum by offshore interests. NZ Racing Desk reports that, in a deal brokered by Brian Hedley Bloodstock and the Australian Bloodstock Agency’s Greg Zarra, the four-year-old son of champion stallion Savabeel will be doing his future racing in Hong Kong. “Obviously, he’s been a great horse to us,” said Jamie Richards, who trains in partnership at Matamata with Stephen Autridge. “It was a pleasure to have a horse like him to train, he’s such a lovely horse.” Hall Of Fame has won five of his 11 starts to date, including the Gr1 Levin Classic at Trentham, where he defeated Savile Row and Jon Snow, and the Listed Zacinto Stakes at Riccarton. Hall Of Fame was originally purchased out of Lyndhurst Farm’s NZB Ready to Run Sale draft at Karaka in 2015 by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $230,000.
Premier New Zealand trainers Andrew Forsman & Murray Baker are likely to avoid a clash with champion mare Winx in the Cox Plate with their highly regarded quartet in the spring, reports NZ racing Desk. "While Winx is around the Cox Plate is very much a back-up plan," said Forsman. "The Caulfield Cup is more the focus." Forsman was referring to the Cambridge trainers' classy spring contenders Bonneval, Eleonora, Jon Snow and Lizzie L'Amour who will campaign exclusively in Melbourne. "Bonneval is doing as well as she can and once she gets to Melbourne she will really improve. She will most likely kick off in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes [Gr2 over 1600m at Moonee Valley on 2 September] or the Makybe Diva [Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600m at Flemington on 9 Sept]," Forsman said. "Jon Snow has strengthened up a lot, he has gone to another level. There's no reason he can't reach the heights of Mongolian Khan. He is likely to resume in the Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes. He's more forward and the fastest of the others and he could run a cheeky fresh-up 1400." Lizzie L'Amour has also pleased her connections as she prepares to embark on a Cups' campaign. "She's by Zabeel out of a Sadler's Wells mare so she's bred to stay and she's already a Group One winner at weight-for-age over 2000m," Forsman said. "She's coming up a treat. Once the cups come around she could get a piece of it." Forsman confirmed Eleonora would also be aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Leading form analyst Daniel O'Sullivan from The Rating Bureau in Australia rates Bonneval (Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) as the best of New Zealand's classic winners from last season and expects a bold showing from her during the spring carnival in Melbourne, reports NZ Racing Desk. According to O'Sullivan, Bonneval ran to a peak rating of 104.5 in her highly impressive Gr1 Australian Oaks victory, placing her ahead of fellow Group One winners Gingernuts (New Zealand Derby & Rosehill Guineas) with a peak rating of 100 and Jon Snow (Australian Derby) at 99. "There's no doubt in my mind that Bonneval is the superior horse based on exposed form," O'Sullivan said. "Her Australian Oaks win was a supreme staying performance, above the historical average of the race. It was a fast pace, higher pressure race which she relished, racing away to be a dominant winner in a fast time." O'Sullivan added: "Her New Zealand Oaks win demonstrated that she also has an excellent turn of foot and sustained sectional speed over 600-800m. From a staying perspective, she has all of the attributes needed to be a factor at the top-level." O'Sullivan believes Bonneval will be competitive in the spring with the Gr1 Caulfield Cup her prime target. "At four I can see Bonneval being thereabouts in the weight-for-age lead-up races over 1600-2000m, building nicely to another peak performance in the 2400m Caulfield Cup," he said.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman training partnership has claimed its second New Zealand National Trainers' Premiership off the back of an outstanding season of feature race success, reports NZ Racing Desk. After finishing runner-up to the Te Akau Racing team of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards last year, following their inaugural title in 2014-15, the Baker-Forsman combination ramped up their efforts this year as they claimed a remarkable 19 black-type victories among their tally of 107 wins. Highlighted by the classic victories of Australian Derby and Australian Oaks winners Jon Snow and Bonneval, the Baker-Forsman stable amassed earnings of $2.92million for the season. "We've certainly had a great year, but I think it really just continues on from the level we have been at for the past four or five years," Baker said. "I think this is the most number of black-type wins we have achieved with the 24 across New Zealand and Australia. Last season we probably won more prize money thanks to wins like the Caulfield Cup with Mongolian Khan and the Emirates Stakes with Turn Me Loose." Baker added: "Before that we did well with Dundeel and the like so we really have been building to the stage we are at now for a while." Like any successful stable, Baker acknowledged the often unrecognised role of his staff. "We have a staff of twenty something who do an outstanding job and really put in the hard yards. Without that we certainly wouldn't be in the position we are now," he said.
Record-setting trainer Murray Baker is assembling his most formidable team for the upcoming spring carnival in Melbourne, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Cambridge horseman posted his 20th Group One victory in Australia, more than any other New Zealand trainer, when outstanding filly Bonneval won the Australian Oaks in the autumn. Bonneval (Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) is one of three contenders that Baker is aiming at the Caulfield Cup, along with Australian Derby hero Jon Snow and Gr1 New Zealand Stakes winner Lizzie l'Amour. The trio are likely to launch their Australian campaigns in either the Gr1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 2 September, or the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) a week later at Flemington. "They will all be looking at the Caulfield Cup and Lizzie l'Amour could run in some fillies and mares' races on the way through," Baker said. "She's [Bonneval] very good and she's got to be a big chance to get the Horse of the Year." Baker added: "She won two Oaks and at Randwick she was just outstanding. You wouldn't have given her a chance 500 metres from home and yet she won by four and a half lengths."
Meanwhile, history suggests that Australian Derby victor Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly) has the right credentials to be a major player during the Melbourne spring. The classic winning colt is being prepared for a tilt at the Caulfield Cup and, if his form warrants it, the Cox Plate. "Australian Derby form usually works out well in Melbourne," trainer Murray Baker told NZ Racing Desk. "Nom du Jeu won in Sydney and ran second in the Caulfield Cup, Dundeel was the leading four-year-old at weight-for-age, and Mongolian Khan won the Caulfield Cup." Baker added: "Jon Snow's form here [in New Zealand] was also very good. He was third in three big races and he's a big, powerful horse now. He's developed a lot with a spell." Jon Snow, who was also placed in the New Zealand Derby, is one of four horses in the running for the champion NZ 3YO award along with stable-mate Bonneval.
The strength of New Zealand's 3YO crop is emphasised by the release of the finalists for the 2016-17 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards, reports NZ Racing Desk. New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has announced the finalists for five of the six racehorse categories, with the finalists for the Jumper of the Year to be finalised later in the month. The five finalists for Three-Year-Old of the Year have all been classic winners this season and Bonneval and Gingernuts were Group One winners on both sides of the Tasman. Jon Snow was a dual Group One placegetter in New Zealand and a Group One and Group Two winner in Australia, while La Diosa was a Group One winner in New Zealand and a Group Two winner in Australia. All finalists are also eligible for the Horse of the Year award, which will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland, at the Langham Hotel, on Sunday, 10th September.
Orinda, the dam of the Australian Derby winner Jon Snow, has been sold to Peter Yip, of the Hong Kong Breeders' Club, who also has strong New Zealand ties, reports NZ Racing Desk. "I bought Orinda on behalf of Peter, my business partner in the farm here," Highview Stud's Brent Gillovic said. "He's had a share in Snitzel right from the outset so we had to get a mare that justified going to him." Gillovic added: "I was talking to Michael Otto [bloodstock agent] and he mentioned that this mare could possibly be bought and I didn't need any convincing given her pedigree and she's a nice deep-bodied type." Previously owned by Richard Moore, the O'Reilly mare's first foal is Jon Snow and she also has a rising 3YO Showcasing colt and a rising 2YO filly by Pins. She is currently carrying a full sibling to Jon Snow (by Iffraaj). "She's gone to Attunga Stud where she'll foal down and then walk into Snitzel," Gillovic said.
The Gr1 Memsie Stakes in Melbourne on 2 September is the likely spring starting point for classic winning stable-mates Jon Snow and Bonneval, reports AAP. The 3YOs stamped themselves as horses to watch when winning the Australian Derby and Australian Oaks respectively in Sydney during the autumn. Co-trainer Andrew Forsman, who prepares the duo in partnership with Murray Baker, said Jon Snow and Bonneval had been in work since the beginning of June and would have their training load increased in the next couple of weeks. "They are both stronger but obviously you'd expect that going from three to four-year-old," Forsman said. "We couldn't be happier at this stage but there's still a lot of water to go under the bridge.” He added: "We'll probably look at giving them a trial here in early August and then get them over to Melbourne in the middle of August." Forsman said the Caulfield Cup was the primary target for both horses. The stable won the race with Mongolian Khan in 2015. "Obviously they are both Caulfield Cup candidates, so that would be the target at this stage unless one of them puts their hand up and says they are good enough to take on Winx (in the Cox Plate)," Forsman said. "Only a select few can take that step up and we were lucky that Mongolian Khan was good enough to do it…we're pretty confident these two have the class to do that.”
After a stellar 2016 season, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) has had his book closed heading into the 2017 breeding season, reports NZ Racing Desk. Leading the way for Iffraaj has been star Kiwi colts Gingernuts and Jon Snow. Gingernuts was triumphant in the Gr1 New Zealand Derby and Gr1 Rosehill Guineas, while Jon Snow also crossed the Tasman to claim classic honours in the Gr1 Australian Derby. Moreover, Godolphin’s top-class galloper Ribchester landed the Gr1 Lockinge Stakes last month and is a short-priced favourite for next week’s Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Iffraaj is also the broodmare sire of Gr1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes winning filly Melody Belle. Haunui Farm Managing Director Mark Chitty said the performances of his progeny exemplifies Iffraaj as an international stallion. "It's been really satisfying. It's seen his book close going into the 2017 breeding season with a service fee rise,” Chitty said. "It has been good for the stud, but it has also been good for New Zealand to have another truly proven international stallion." Chitty added: "Not many stallions have left a Group One performer in every crop they have had and he has so far in New Zealand. That shows the true worth of the horse." Iffraaj will stand at an increased service fee of $25,000 + GST, an increase of $7,500 + GST from last season.
The dominance of New Zealand-bred 3YOs in Australia this season continued with an impressive win by Volatile Mix (Pentire) in Saturday's $600,000 Gr1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville – a story that began in the Karaka sale ring almost a decade ago. The Derby winner's dam Utopia (High Chaparral) was bought for $170,000 by Bruce Perry Bloodstock at the 2008 Premier Sale. She herself went on to win two races, and she picked up black type with a second placing in the Gr3 Manawatu Classic. Her first foal is Volatile Mix, bred and raced by Graham and Linda Huddy and racing in the stable of champion trainer Darren Weir. Ridden by John Allen, he stormed home from well back in the field and raced past fellow Kiwi-bred Odeon (Zacinto) and Ruthven (Domesday) to score by half a length. Another New Zealand-bred, the filly Savvy Dreams (Savabeel), was fourth. Volatile Mix has now had nine starts for three wins, two placings and more than $400,000 in prize money. New Zealand-bred 3YOs have enjoyed extraordinary success in recent months with Gingernuts winning the Gr1 New Zealand Derby & Gr1 Rosehill Guineas, Jon Snow landing the Gr1 Australian Derby, and Bonneval winning the Gr1 Australian Oaks.
Two broodmares of interest at New Zealand Bloodstock's upcoming National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale are a genuine dispersal for Ione & David Lees since selling Davone Lodge 18 months ago. Lot 422 is the Bertolini mare Nikey Davone, the dam of 3 to race for 3 winners. Nikey Davone, who hails from the same female line as 8-time Gr1 winning champion galloper Super Impose, is the only mare in the sale with a recent positive test to iffraaj, sire of New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts and Australian Derby winner Jon Snow. Nikey Davone is carrying a full sibling to 3 times winner and 6 times stakes-placed mare Princess Davone. The other is Davone Kate (Lot 361), the dam of one to race (a dual winner), who is believed to be one of only two mares to test positive to Australian speed horse Il Cavallo. NZB's National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale will be held at Karaka on 8 and 9 May, with the broodmares selling on the second day from Lot 324. Click here to view the catalogue.
New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, which will be held at Karaka on Monday and Tuesday next week, has had numerous significant pedigree updates since the catalogues went to print in late March. Among the most significant is Lot 153, Novara Park’s weanling filly by Jakkalberry out of La Pinnicle. She hails from the same family as Gr1 Australian Derby winner Jon Snow as well as Showemup, who won the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes and placed in the Listed NZB Warstep Stakes to claim the title of NZB Southern Filly of the Year. Lots 87, 113 and 369 are all related to Gr1 Australian Cup winner Humidor, while Lot 245, a Proisir filly out of Safari Sunset, is closely related to Dixie Blossoms who finished third in the Gr1 Queen of the Turf Stakes in Sydney. Lot 278 is closely related to the Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther, whose race record includes wins in the Hong Kong Derby, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Gr1 Hong Kong Gold Cup, along with a third in last Sunday’s Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup. To view all a detailed summary of recent pedigree updates click here. NZB’s National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale will be held at Karaka on Monday and Tuesday, commencing at 10am each day. Lots will be available for inspection from Saturday morning. Click here to view the catalogue.
New Zealand Bloodstock's upcoming National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale will feature an outstanding range of proven and up-and-coming sires, both in the weanling category and among the covering sires of the broodmares. Waikato Stud's champion sire Savabeel swept all before him last season, topping the New Zealand sires' premiership and completing a clean sweep of all three of the country's stallion awards. There are four Savabeel weanlings catalogued for the Sale, including a colt out of the multiple stakes winner Avisto (Lot 30). There are also six broodmares by Savabeel. Haunui Farm shuttle stallion Iffraaj has had a year to remember, siring Gr1 New Zealand Derby & Gr1 Rosehill Guineas winner Gingernuts and Gr1 Australian Derby winner Jon Snow. This year's Sale features six Iffraaj weanlings and five broodmares, while another broodmare is in foal to the red-hot stallion. The other stallions in New Zealand's top five this season – Darci Brahma, Tavistock and Pins – will also play a significant role with five, seven and eleven weanlings in the catalogue respectively. Pins has 21 horses catalogued for the Sale, which is the equal most alongside the Rich Hill Stud pair of Jimmy Choux and Proisir, while Rock 'N' Pop has the most broodmares in foal to him in the catalogue with 12, one more than El Roca. The catalogue also features the first weanling crops of an exciting group of new stallions – New Zealand-based Charm Spirit, El Roca, Proisir, Sacred Falls, Giant's Steps and the late Atlante, and Australians Deep Field, Shooting To Win and Wandjina. NZB's National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale will be held at Karaka on 8 and 9 May, with the broodmares selling on the second day from Lot 324. Click here to view the catalogue.
Stakes winning Kiwi 3YO Swissta (Swiss Ace-Sacrista, by General Nediym) will continue his racing career in Hong Kong, reports NZ Racing Desk. “He’s been sold and he’ll be leaving for Hong Kong in about three weeks,” said trainer Richard Collett, who also shared in the ownership of the Swiss Ace gelding. “He’s a talented galloper and I’m sure he’ll do a good job up there.” A winner of 3 of his 7 starts, Swissta’s biggest win hitherto was in the Gr2 Great Northern Guineas in which he defeated subsequent Australian Derby winner Jon Snow.
Trainer Murray Baker will be chasing back-to-back Australian Classic victories when Bonneval contests tomorrow's $1 million Gr1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick, reports NZ Racing Desk. Baker and co-trainer Andrew Forsman produced Jon Snow to win last Saturday's Australian Derby (2400m), and the duo is confident that Bonneval can land the fillies' equivalent. "All you can do is give it a shot, but the filly is healthy and happy and we've had no hold-ups along the way. She's settled in well over here," Baker said. Not only will Bonneval (Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) be out to provide Baker with his first Australian Oaks winner, but she will also be bidding for a trans-Tasman Oaks double after winning the New Zealand Oaks at her most recent start. Baker's only concern is the prospect of a rain-affected track and the clockwise way of going at Randwick. "She's only had one start right-handed and that was when she got pulled out of the Eight Carat Classic when she choked down," Baker said. "But we've given her a lot of work right-handed so we don't expect any problems there. She does stay. She's out of a Zabeel mare and how she goes just depends on how she handles the track." He added: "Hugh Bowman rode her in her track gallop on Tuesday and he was happy. She's a nice relaxed filly, quite a good size and I'm sure that if she can handle the conditions, she'll run the trip all right."
Off the back of a phenomenal month, Haunui Farm have announced the service fee for dual Derby-producing sire Iffraaj at $25,000 + GST. Returning to Haunui Farm for his tenth consecutive season, 2017 has been a breakout year for the Darley-owned stallion whose statistics have always been right up there with the best. Haunui Farm's Mark Chitty said: "The past few weeks have been very satisfying to say the least. We have always had every confidence in Iffraaj and for him to have sired a Karaka Million winner, the winner of the New Zealand Derby and, winner of the Australian Derby from the one crop is an outstanding achievement and it's finally seeing him get the accolades that he deserves." Iffraaj's current 3YO crop features five stakes winners, including the Gr1 Derby duo of Gingernuts and Jon Snow whilst in total his six Southern Hemisphere crops of racing age have produced 31 stakes performers including 19 stakes winners. Iffraaj will once again serve a strictly limited book of 100 mares. Applications for the 2017 breeding season are currently being taken and will close on 30th April 2017.
On day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick in Sydney, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) celebrated an elite success when 3YO New Zealand-bred colt Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly) scored by 0.8 length for trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman in the $2 million Gr1 Australian Derby (2400m) for 3YOs, over fellow 3YO colts Harper's Choice (Street Cry-Oxigenada, by Ibero) & Hardham (Redoute's Choice-Nureyev's Girl, by Nureyev). Jon Snow, who was purchased by his co-trainer Andrew Forsman for $65,000 at the 2015 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Haunui Farm, advanced his record to 3 wins (including the Gr2 Tulloch Stakes) and 5 placings 9including the Gr1 ARC New Zealand Derby) from 12 starts for $1,585,370 earnings. Jon Snow hails from the top-producing NZ family of Gr1 Maori Stakes winner Culminate, New Zealand Oaks winner Solveig, Lion Brown Sprint (now Gr1 Waikato Sprint) winner Soliloquy, and Gr3-winning sire Greig.
The flags of the Kiwi breeding industry and New Zealand Bloodstock flew high yet again in the $2 million Gr1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday. Jon Snow (Iffraaj) became the third Karaka graduate in a row to win the Randwick classic, following in the footsteps of the $60,000 Premier Sale purchase Tavago (Tavistock) and the $220,000 Ready to Run Sale graduate Mongolian Khan (Holy Roman Emperor). Purchased for $65,000 at the 2015 Select Sale by co-trainer Andrew Forsman, Jon Snow was an admirably consistent performer through the New Zealand season with placings in the Group 2 Hawke's Bay Guineas, Group 2 Great Northern Guineas, Group 1 Levin Classic, Listed Karaka 3YO Mile and Group 1 New Zealand Derby. But the Iffraaj colt has come of age since travelling to Sydney, winning the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes and Group 1 Australian Derby within the space of a week. Raced by the Zame Partnership, Jon Snow has now won three of his 11 starts and more than $1.57 million in prize money – around 24 times his purchase price. Jon Snow was bred by Richard Moore. He is out of the O'Reilly mare Orinda (NZ) and descends from the Moore family's famous line that includes such illustrious performers as Solveig, Soliloquy, Greig, and Soltanto.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the time-honoured $2 million Gr1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick this Saturday. Tab favourite Gingernuts ($3.50), who is seeking to emulate Mongolian Khan (2015) and champion Bonecrusher (1986) in claiming the Australian & New Zealand Derby double, has drawn one from the outside in barrier 12, although this is unlikely to be a disadvantage over the mile-and-a-half journey. Second favourite Inference ($4.40) has drawn perfectly in barrier 4, while fellow Kiwi 3YO Jon Snow (barrier 9) and Anaheim (barrier 1) are the only other runners under double-figure odds at $6 and $8 respectively. Click here to view the Australian Derby field on day one of The Championships this Saturday.
Meanwhile, Eleonora's Gr1-performed stable-mate Jon Snow is set to make his Australian debut in the Gr2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday week (25 March), reports NZ Racing Desk. "He'll run in the Tulloch Stakes and if he runs well he'll go to the Derby [Gr1 Australian Derby]," Forsman said. Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly) has been in excellent form this preparation without collecting a major reward. He was placed in the Gr1 Levin Classic, the Gr2 Great Northern Guineas and the Listed Karaka Mile before he also finished a last-start third in the Gr1 New Zealand Derby. "He's very brave and honest and a bit of rain would suit him," Forsman said.
At Ellerslie in NZ, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) celebrated a Gr1 success when 3YO chestnut gelding Gingernuts (Iffraaj-Double Elle, by Generous) scored by 1.25-lengths for Te Akau trainers Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards in the NZ$1 million New Zealand Derby (2400m) for 3YOs, over fellow gelding Rising Red (Redwood-Diva In Red, by High Yield) and the colt Jon Snow (Iffraaj-Orinda, by O'Reilly). Given a peach of a ride by Oppie Bosson, Gingernuts made it a hat-trick in taking his record to 4 wins (also including last start's Gr2 Avondale Guineas) and a runner-up from 7 starts for NZ$671,225 earnings. After initially being sold as a weanling for NZ$5,000 at the 2014 NZB National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Sale, Te Akau purchased Gingernuts for NZ$42,500 as a 2YO at the 2015 NZB Horses In Training Sale. "What a huge thrill," Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis said. "We bought two horses at that Ready to Run Sale, and they were Gingernuts and Hall of Fame. What they've gone on to do is amazing." Ellis added: "Gingernuts has always been an outstanding-looking horse, and Stephen and Jamie and all the staff have done a great job to get him here and win the Derby."
Vinnie Colgan is relishing his opportunity to get back aboard one of his favourite gallopers in the Gr1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa tomorrow, reports NZ Racing Desk. The six-time New Zealand Derby-winning jockey hasn't ridden Volkstok'n'barrell in New Zealand since his back-to-back Group One double of the Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki and New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie last autumn. "I'm happy to be back on the old fella," Colgan said. "He's won some good races and it's worked out well with Matt Cameron happy to stick with Jon Snow for this race." Volkstok'n'barrell is the TAB's $5.50 third favourite behind highly regarded 3YO Savile Row at $3.70 and Gr1 Zabeel Classic winner Consensus at $4.50. "The two three-year-olds [Savile Row and Jon Snow] will be tough to beat and Consensus is racing well but my horse is a good, fit horse and he'll run a strong race," Colgan said. Colgan has ridden Volkstok'n'barrell (Tavistock-Volkster, by Volksraad) on four occasions and that inside knowledge of the horse could prove the difference between winning and defeat on Saturday. "He can get off the bridle from the 600m to the 400 when they quicken but as long as you don't miss that, he'll get to the line strongly. If everything goes right to that point, he'll be dangerous up the straight," he said.