Century for Cambridge trainers

Andrew Forsman leaning over the rail discussing the stable's 100th win with rider Troy Harris as he dismounts from Divine Shiva at Matamata today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Andrew Forsman discussing the stable’s 100th NZ win for the season with rider Troy Harris as he dismounts from Divine Shiva at Matamata today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman surged past a century of wins for the season at Matamata today to have the NZ trainers’ record in sight.

The Cambridge duo started the day on 98 wins and wasted no time getting the century with their first two representatives, Here’shoping and Divine Shiva, successful in the second and third races respectively. They had no joy with their next runner, Saywhen, but then topped the day off with victory in the last race with Castle Bee.

“I was pretty confident we could get the 100 today,” said Forsman. “I thought Divine Shiva would win, I labelled her my best bet on radio, and I was hoping one of the other three would win, too. It’s great to get the (century) monkey off our backs.

“Getting 100 wins is something you don’t aim for. It has just happened that way. The best the stable has had in the past is 70-odd (73 in 2008-09).

“As well as the wins (101) we’ve had 17 stakes winners in New Zealand and we’ve got the best strike rate. It’s like the perfect season.”

The stable’s success this term includes five Group One wins in New Zealand as well as the Gr. 1 Australian Derby in Sydney with Mongolian Khan, who had earlier won the TV3 NZ Derby at Ellerslie.

The other Group One winners for the stable have been Turn Me Loose (Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas), Dal Cielo (Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes), Sakhee’s Soldier (Ronald McDonald House Charities NZ Stakes) and Diademe (Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes).

Baker and Forsman welcomed back two of their Group One stars, Mongolian Khan and Turn Me Loose, to the stable a couple of days ago and are thrilled with their condition. “They did well during their breaks,” said Forsman. “It’s good to get them back.”

Both top three-year-olds will be set for Australian missions with the Melbourne Cup being the ultimate goal for Mongolian Khan.

Meanwhile, the stable has enough ammunition to extend its unassailable lead in the NZ Trainers’ Premiership and threaten John Sargent’s record for the most New Zealand wins in a season.

John Sargent, now based in Sydney, set the record at 111 wins in the 2011-12 season, eclipsing the previous record of 108 achieved two seasons earlier by Mark Walker when he smashed a 17-year-old record set by Dave and Paul O’Sullivan (104 wins).

Baker and Forsman are 31 wins clear of Lisa Latta, last season’s premiership winner and their closest rival on the trainers’ list. Their prize money tally in New Zealand is over $3.1 million, almost double Latta, who is next on the list with $1.7 million.

Gesemi, last Saturday’s Cornwall Handicap winner, has been turned out for a spell and with the big guns waiting in the wings to be prepared for next season, the Baker and Forsman hopes rest with several lower-grade horses to keep the flow of wins coming for the stable.

Each of today’s three winners scored in the fashion to expect further success over the next six weeks. Here’s Hoping won the Slattery Contracting Ltd 1400 by two and three-quarter lengths, while Divine Shiva prevailed by two and a half lengths in the PGG Wrightson 1600 and Castle Bee rounded off the day with a three-quarter length victory in the Matamata Tractors & Machinery 1400.

Here’shoping, a three-year-old Darci Brahma filly, had been placed third on the Matamata track in the second of her two runs earlier this year and did well to win fresh-up, giving Matt Cameron the first of a treble of wins on the day.

Divine Shiva credited Troy Harris with a double for the day when winning the second of the two highweights and had looked on the verge of success when third previously behind Spoke To Carlo at Ellerslie.

“She needs loose ground and she won here last prep on a heavy track,” said Forsman. “She had a few runs on holding tracks and didn’t like it.”

Harris says Divine Shiva revelled in the footing today. “She should get a few more wins this winter,” he said.

Castle Bee not only completed the treble for Baker and Forsman on the day, she also became the third winner for Cameron, who was also successful two races earlier on President Tornado for Te Aroha trainer Pat Rodewald.

Castle Bee had, like Here’shoping, been freshened since a couple of runs over summer and gave the impression she should handle more staying demands, being from a Zabeel mare.