Locals closing in on milestones

Stable apprentice Emma Smith and Arzak, the second of three winners at Te Awamutu for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Stable apprentice Emma Smith and Arzak, the second of three winners at Te Awamutu for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

A couple of Cambridge stables have notable milestones within range.

The powerful training duo of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman appears to have an unassailable lead on the NZ Trainers’ Premiership and the sniff of a record, while Stephen Marsh is set to reach or even pass his season goal of 50 wins.

The Baker and Forsman stable increased its premiership lead with a treble at Te Awamutu last Wednesday, while on the same day Marsh edged closer to a personal goal with a win by He’s Game.

Baker and Forsman are making the premiership a “one-horse race” with the wins of Get That Jive, Arzak and Gesemi taking their total for the season to 94 wins, placing them 27 clear of their closest rival, Lisa Latta, who won last year’s premiership with 87 wins.

Even with the stable stars out spelling, such is the firepower in the Baker – Forsman stable reaching a century seems a formality and a new record for the most New Zealand wins in a season is attainable.

John Sargent, now making his mark in Sydney, holds the training record with 111 wins registered in the 2011-12 season. The previous record of 108 was achieved two seasons earlier when Mark Walker smashed a 17-year-old record set by Dave and Paul O’Sullivan (104 wins).

If Baker and Forsman do set a record it will be the first time since the O’Sullivan’s feat that it has been done from one outlet as both Sargent and Walker had their main stables at Matamata but were also operating satellite stables in the South Island when they set their records.

Not only are Baker and Forsman well clear on the premiership, they are already runaway winners on the prize money table with their New Zealand stakes tally beyond $3 million, almost double Latta, who is next on the list with $1.64 million. And with 17 black-type wins to their credit this season, the partners are out on their own on the Group and Listed wins’ list.

Get That Jive, a debut winner of the Fairview Motors 1150 last Wednesday, and Massa Lu, who followed a debut second at Te Rapa with an Avondale win, will give the Baker – Forsman stable a chance to add to its black-type tally when clashing in the Listed $50,000 Great Northern Foal Stakes at Ellerslie on Saturday week.

Arzak, who took his record to two wins from nine starts when proving too strong in the Charma Heights 1400, also looks a horse capable of adding to the stable’s winning tally this winter. He was the first of two winners on the Te Awamutu programme for the Estate of the late Robyn Horton (the other winner was the Patsy Riley-trained Champagne Argonne in the following event).

“He won well and maturity could be the key to it,” said Forsman.

Gesemi, who rounded off the treble for the Baker – Forsman stable, also looks capable of rising through the grades this campaign. She has now won four of her 12 starts and was simply too strong in the Bains Liquid Disposal 2000.

Baker and Forsman have five chances at Te Rapa tomorrow to close in on the century of wins this season and it will be a surprise if they don’t get at least one winner.

Elusive Gold looks a strong chance in the third event, the NRM 1200, while Gustavo is a most consistent performer and is returning to the scene of his latest success when he contests the Mico Plumbing 1400.

Dennis Denuto, who will represent the stable in the Print House 1200, was third on the Te Rapa track last start. High Society, a candidate for the New World Te Rapa 1400, will be looking to bounce back after his saddle slipped at Taranaki and Ambitious Pins, a debut winner at Matamata, will round off the stable’s representation with a start in the Lodge Real Estate 1600.

Meanwhile, Marsh has all his eggs in one basket at Te Rapa with his three representatives – Bingo (Danielle Johnson), Lucky Country (Sam Collett) and Santiago (Leith Innes) — opposing High Society in the ninth event. “They’re all chances,” said Marsh.

He’s Game, owned by Ken Potter, of Cambridge, provided Marsh with his 47th win for the season and moved him into fifth spot on the NZ Trainers’ Premiership. It is the first time since beginning his solo career he has figured so high on the list, improving from being in the top 20 for the past two seasons.

“At the start of the season I set a goal of 40 and when I realised I was going to get that I made it 50,” said Marsh. “It’s been a good season and it’s a realistic goal. I think I can get the 50.”

He’s Game was having his second start when he cleared out to win the Red Bins Ltd 1150 by seven lengths, but he may not be able to contribute further to the stable’s tally.

“I thought he’d be sold by now and after that win I’d say there’s a good chance he will be,” said Marsh. “But I’ve got some others that should win a few more for me this season.”