Cambridge stable keeping Derby hopes alive

Highlad (Matt Cameron) getting up to win on debut at Avondale.

Highlad (Matt Cameron), pictured getting up to win on debut at Avondale, will appreciate the distance in the Waikato Guineas on Saturday.

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will be juggling their classic troops over the next fortnight.

The Cambridge training partnership still have five horses in contention for the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 4.

Highlad will contest Saturday’s Gr.2 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas at Te Rapa following his third placing in a Rating 75 1600m at Tauranga last month.

He will be fitter for his first-up run, though Baker considers the horse could need the race again when he steps up in distance this week.

Matt Cameron has ridden Highlad in each of his New Zealand starts and he has the mount again in a field headed by Gr.1 Levin Classic winner Hall Of Fame.

There is also a good chance that Highlad, who can handle wet tracks, will return to Australia in the autumn for a tilt at the Australian Derby.

Stablemate Jon Snow is likely to tackle the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa on Saturday week.

“It has taken a while for the penny to drop with him, but he has been only half a neck from the winner in his last three starts,” said Baker.

Mongolian Legend has had only four starts, but has impressed his trainers and will probably tackle a rating 65 2100m at Te Rapa on Saturday week.

Shocking gelding Camino Rocoso was a dominant last-start winner and he is expected to tackle the Gr.2 Retina Specialists Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie on February 18.

“We do think he’s a good horse and he’s another who might get to Sydney,” said Baker.

Mongolian Wolf has kept his Derby hopes alive by beating older horses, in rating 65 and rating 75 company, in his two starts in a new campaign.

He beat his talented stablemate Break My Stride over 1400 metres at Rotorua before comfortably winning a rating 75 1600m at Pukekohe last weekend. Break My Stride then went on to score a courageous win in his next start.

– NZ Racing Desk.