Connections of talented three-year-old stayer Bobby Dee are looking to Randwick on Saturday as plan B after the gelding was stranded on the ballot for both the Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) and Gr.2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained runner will take on older gallopers in Saturday’s Schweppes Handicap (2000m) for which he has drawn barrier two.
“He travelled down to Sydney last week and settled in well to Bjorn (Baker’s) stable and his plans will depend on how he goes on Saturday,” Forsman said.
“If he is competitive, then we would have to look at other options because there is good stake money to be won over there and I guess we will have to reassess and talk to the owners as to what they want to do.”
With a Group Two-placing in the Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie preceding a win over older rivals at Te Rapa, Bobby Dee looked to have the upward trajectory of a genuine Queensland Derby contender.
However, he was never a factor in the Gr.3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Eagle Farm, in which he finished eighth, and as a result he narrowly missed a Derby start.
“His run in the Grand Prix was pretty disappointing. He just sort of plugged away without doing much at all,” Forsman said.
“The rain-affected track on Saturday (heavy9) will certainly bring him into it and although the month between runs isn’t ideal, he does seem fit and he worked up to the mark on Tuesday by all accounts. So, all we can do is line him up and place him in a race that looks pretty suitable.
“I think 2000m on a heavy track at this point in his preparation is ideal. He is not the sort of horse that needs a lot of racing and often his best races have been on the fresh side, so he will certainly get his chance and he is well.”
James Innes Jnr will ride from barrier two and Forsman said he would not be surprised to see Bobby Dee ridden more positively than in the Grand Prix Stakes.
“He can race up on the pace and I think the way they ride Randwick these days when it is going to be wet, they all seem to skirt off the inside pretty quickly, but I think they over-play it a bit,” he said.
“If he is down on the inner and can cut the corner and angle out down the middle in the straight, I think that would be ideal.”
Meanwhile, the Baker-Forsman team will have a host of runners on the home front, headed by New York Minute and Tomelilla in Saturday’s Listed Ultimate Ford And Mazda Tauranga Classic (1400m).
The pair finished first and third, respectively, in last year’s renewal of the race and Forsman believes New York Minute, a $5-chance with the TAB fixed odds, can quickly bounce back from her last-start failure at Trentham, where she finished last of six runners.
“We’re not too worried about the run itself at Trentham. When she has won that race previously, she has railed-up on the inside, but this time they were running to the outside fence,” Formsan said.
“That just shows the different sort of track that it was and she never really looked comfortable. We will just put that one behind us and go back to a race and a track that we know she has been competitive on.
“Again, it will depend on the pattern of the day a little bit. She is a horse that likes to jump, race on the pace and rail-up and hopefully she gets her chance to do that.”
Stakes-winning stablemate Tomelilla ($23) has been plain in her last couple of races and the broodmare barn might be beckoning if she fails to flatter on Saturday.
“She has been competitive in this sort of race and we’re not sure what to make of her last start. It was too bad to be true and she has galloped well since,” Forsman said.
“If she puts in another bad performance, I’d say that would be the writing on the wall.”
Forsman said honest galloper Elle Eye Are was a good chance of returning to the winners’ circle in the Zest Premier (1600m) at Tauranga.
“Back to a testing mile at Tauranga, she gets her opportunity to return to winning ways.” – NZ Racing Desk