Baker and Forsman celebrate century

Checkout (Matt Cameron) bringing up a century of wins for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman when beating Sensibility at Pukekohe today.

Checkout (Matt Cameron) bringing up a century of wins for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman when beating Sensibility at Pukekohe today.

Relief over-rode jubilation for the country’s leading trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman when Checkout won at Pukekohe today.

The victory by the Waikato Stud-owned and bred Checkout in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series 1600 marked a century for the season for the powerhouse Cambridge stable.

“It’s been a bit frustrating the last week or so with a few seconds, but the horses are still racing well,” said Forsman. “I’m rapt to get the 100.”

Baker and Forsman picked up a double at Te Rapa last Saturday week with Huayra and Craftyeva, but since the latter’s win in the final event on that programme they have had to settle for six seconds and a third over four meetings before Checkout prevailed.

Socially Excited has picked up two of those placings and was the first to show up for Baker and Forsman today when runner-up behind Contessa Vanessa.

Grand Rio, who has been responsible for three of the stable’s wins this season, then staged a real shot at the century of wins but came up a mere nose short behind Pacquaio.

However, no sooner had Grand Rio been hosed down and cooled off, Baker and Forsman were turning their attention to Checkout and the three-year-old daughter of Savabeel didn’t let the side down.

Ridden by Matt Cameron, Checkout began well and settled fourth or fifth on the outside and was improved approaching the home turn. She then unleashed a determined finish, but Sensibility didn’t make it easy for her when fighting right to the line.

Checkout gained the upper hand within the shadow of the winning post to score by a short neck and cap off three thirds in seven previous outings.

“The step up to a mile (1600m) was the key, but stepping up to a mile on quite a tough, testing track was a good effort,” said Forsman. “She dug deep.”

Baker and Forsman were stuck on 99 wins last season when second on the NZ Trainers’ Premiership behind Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards (104), but the previous season they set a national record of 114 wins.

The Cambridge duo has three acceptors at Tauranga on Saturday in a bid to better their current century with Arzak and Bowie clashing in the second event and Craftyeva chasing a double when contesting the fifth race.

“Hopefully we can push on with a few more (winners) before the end of the season,” said Forsman.