The heavens have opened over Sydney in the past week, but Cambridge horseman Andrew Forsman is one trainer who is not deterred by the subsequent wet track conditions at Rosehill ahead of Saturday.
Forsman, who trains in partnership with Murray Baker, will line-up three runners at the premier meeting and he believes each of them will handle the wet conditions well.
The Baker-Forsman partnership will line-up dual Group One winner Madison County in the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and he looks to be a major threat in the race after his fresh-up fourth-placing in the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) earlier this month.
“He’s been very well and has probably improved sine that run,” Forsman said. “He would have needed that run and it knocked him around for a day or two after, but he has really come on with it and I think he will be a much improved horse for it.
“I was very happy with his run. He held his ground, he just got a fair way back, which is probably always going to be the case with his racing pattern. He hit the line every bit as good as what we wanted to see.”
Madison County will tackle the 2000m distance for the first time on Saturday and although he was seen running home late in the Randwick Guineas last start, Forsman said it’s still unknown whether his charge will stay the distance.
“Often horses can run on, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will get further in trip,” he said.
“So, 2000m first time round a couple of bends will be interesting for him. He will have to handle that, but he does relax well enough in his races. Whether he stays the trip or not we are not sure, but he will give himself every chance.”
Rosehill was rated a Heavy8 track on Thursday and Forsman holds no concern about those conditions heading into Saturday, with Madison County already showing he can handle a wet track.
He won a trial at Avondale last year on a Heavy11 track and jockey Tommy Berry has been happy with the way he has handled the wet track at Warwick Farm this week.
“He has performed on rain-affected ground before,” Forsman said. “We were never really sure with how he would cope, but it has been pretty wet at Warwick Farm and he looks to have thrived and got through it pretty well.
“Tommy said his two pieces of work this week were better than what they were leading into the Randwick Guineas. We would be pretty disappointed if he didn’t handle the track.”
While confident with Madison County heading into Saturday, Forsman does hold a lot of respect for his opposition, particularly the Chris Waller-trained The Autumn Sun.
“We are pretty confident, but it’s just a shame that he has to run into a very good horse in the Autumn Sun, he is going to be hard to beat,” Forsman said.
“Obviously there are some Kiwis coming over that are hardened and are dropping back from the (New Zealand) Derby, so there is certainly no doubts that they will run the 2000m.
“They are quite seasoned and he is effectively second-up heading to 2000m for the first time off the back of a mile.”
Forsman will also line-up Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) aspirants Vin De Dance and Zacada in the Gr.3 N E Manion Cup (2400m) earlier in the card.
“They have travelled over really well,” Forsman said. “They look to have settled in. They have done a fair bit of travelling between them now, so there are no worries there. They have had a nice easy hit-out on Thursday morning.”
The Cambridge conditioner believes his two hopes in the Group Three race will thrive in the wet conditions on Saturday and said punters are being offered overs with Zacada who is paying $21 with TAB Bookmakers, while Vin De Dance has been marked a $6.50 winning chance.
“The wet track certainly shouldn’t worry either of them,” Forsman said. “I think relative to what they have done they are reasonably well off at the weights. They should both run very competitive races.
“I don’t think there is much between them, but the market would suggest otherwise. I think Vin De Dance is quite short and Zacada is relatively long. I wouldn’t really split them too much to be honest.” – NZ Racing Desk