Amidst the aftermath of the celebrations for popular mare Nicoletta scoring her maiden Group One win at Te Aroha on Saturday another milestone slipped under the guard of many people.
The victory became the 20th New Zealand stakes win for her trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman this season, equalling their record set in 2017-2018, whilst it also marked the 100th New Zealand stakes winner for Forsman, who is in his seventh season with Baker.
While Forsman confesses the individual milestone isn’t something he was focussed on leading into the race, he was feeling a healthy sense of achievement afterwards.
“Someone had told me during the week that the next stakes win would make it one hundred for Murray and I training together, so I was aware of it,” Forsman said
“To tell the truth I don’t tend to focus on that sort of thing as my days are full on enough with the business, but I was feeling pretty good about it all afterwards.
“I guess that was as much about the satisfaction of Nicoletta winning rather than about me as she definitely deserved to get a Group One and did that with an impressive performance.”
Forsman also admitted the achievement was the furthest thing from his mind when he was looking around for a job after graduating from Film and Television school.
“My first job after graduation was working as a camera operator for Trackside,” he said.
“I had some background in racing as my grandfather had been an owner-trainer so there was definitely the interest there.
“I guess I fell seriously in love with the whole game then and one day I approached Murray to see if I could work for him in the mornings before doing my Trackside duties.
“That was around seventeen years ago, and has progressed to me being his training partner for the last seven seasons.
“I actually can’t recall why it was Murray I approached, but I guess you could say things have turned out pretty well so far.”
While Forsman was in charge of the New Zealand-based team over the weekend he was also rapt with the performance of the stable runners at Randwick on Saturday with Madison County and The Chosen One performing with distinction when finishing second and fourth respectively in the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m).
“I thought they both went super races on a track that didn’t suit either of them,” Forsman said.
“They were the only two horses to break 37 seconds for the last 600m in the race, but as they were back in running, they just had a little too much to do to catch the winner who had had a soft time of it in front.
“Take nothing away from the winner as he looks a pretty promising animal, however I thought our guys went super.”
Forsman advised that both horses would be assessed in the next few days before any further decisions would be made but it was likely one or both would be coming home for a decent break ahead of their four-year-old season.
Although only finishing midfield in the Gr.3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m), Forsman also believes three-year-old filly Clementina would not be without a chance if she can gain a start in the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) next Saturday.
“She was back and wide during the race and she was another who didn’t really strike a track that suited her,” he said.
“From an Oaks perspective she has ground home quite well and was only a couple lengths off the eventual winner.
“The biggest drawback is that she is still a maiden and may not have enough prizemoney to secure a start in the race.
“If she can sneak in somewhere then I think she could go a very cheeky race on a better track.” – NZ Racing Desk