Progressive staying mare Artiste has landed herself a black-type challenge for her next assignment after a convincing victory in the Drymix Cement Bay Of Plenty Cup (2100m) at Tauranga on Saturday.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained five-year-old has come of age during her current campaign with Saturday’s victory her fourth in her last 7 starts and sixth in her career to date.
Capably handled by apprentice Taiki Yanagida, the Mastercraftsman mare tenaciously held out the challenge of race favourite Felaar for the length of the Tauranga straight to score a gritty three-quarter length victory.
The win has confirmed to her trainers that she is ready to tackle stakes company with Andrew Forsman indicating the Gr.3 LJ Hooker Manawatu Breeders’ (2000m) at Awapuni on April 5 is a likely target.
“That was a really gutsy win that was set up by a perfect ride,” Forsman said.
“I thought he (Yanagida) put her in a great spot throughout and she really benefitted from his claim, as she got a good pull in the weights from her main rivals.
“She has really strengthened up during this campaign and is reaping the benefits of that now.
“While she is going so well, we will press on with her. I would think a tilt at some black-type is the obvious choice and the race at Awapuni sets up nicely as it’s against her own sex over a good distance for her.
“She seems to handle most tracks, so if we do get the rain then I wouldn’t think it would disadvantage her at all.”
Forsman was also delighted with the run of stablemate True Enough who finished an unlucky third in the Gr.2 Windsor Park Stud Japan New Zealand International Trophy (1600m).
“He acquitted himself well in his first time against the big guns,” Forsman said.
“He didn’t have all the luck in the world as he copped a decent check turning for home, but he picked himself up and ran on very strongly.
“He’s another who has done well this prep so he might go to the spelling paddock now and have a good break before we bring him back in the spring.”
Forsman was philosophical about the results for the stable in Sydney on Saturday where Vin De Dance and Zacada finished well back in the Gr.3 Manion Cup (2400m) while Madison County was a late scratching from the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) after suffering a minor injury when being transported to the track.
“Vin De Dance had no luck when he was three-wide throughout so you could excuse that run, whereas, on the face of it, Zacada was quite disappointing,” he said.
“We’ll take a good look at them over the next few days but at this stage we will press on with them both.
“It was just bad luck with Madison County so now we have to find something for him as his lead-up to the Australian Derby (Gr.1, 2400m).
“The likely option is the Tulloch Stakes (Gr.2, 2000m) next weekend but we will have to sit down with his owners and discuss it all as they may want to reassess where they want to go with him.
“In some ways it may have been a blessing in disguise to miss the run on Saturday as it was a very deep and testing track and I know there will be plenty of his Derby rivals who will be feeling it today.” – NZ Racing Desk