Highlad’s step toward Aussie

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

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

Highlad took a positive step toward a possible Melbourne spring campaign with a successful debut over 1200 metres at Avondale today.

On the strength of a trials win at Te Teko earlier this month (his only other public appearance), Highlad was expected to go well in the West Brook Winery 1200 and he didn’t let his supporters down.

Ridden by Matt Cameron, he finished best to beat Kamikaze Rebel by a neck and promised a lot of improvement.

“He covered a fair bit of ground in the run so it was a very good effort,” said Andrew Forsman, who trains the son of High Chaparral with Murray Baker.

“He still did a bit wrong and I think he beat some handy horses.

“Right from when he was an autumn two-year-old we’ve had the VRC Derby in mind so we’ll see how he goes in his next two or three starts and we’ll try and get him there if we can,” said Forsman.

A son of the stakes-winning mare My Lady’s Chamber, Highlad is raced by long-time stable client Scott Richardson, whose success includes the Gr. 1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes winner Diademe.

The Cameron – Baker and Forsman combination gained further success on today’s programme when Miss Rio scored a sound win in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series 1400.

The four-year-old daughter of Captain Rio was having her third start and the win capped two placings – a debut second at Matamata and a fourth at Avondale, both last month.

Meanwhile, Baker and Forsman will have a strong cointingent in an open 1000-metre trial before the first race at the Taupo meeting tomorrow, including Coldplay, Saint Emilion, Maygrove and Get That Jive.