Soldier the Anzac weekend tip

Sakhee's Soldier being challenged hotly on the outside by Rising Romance in the final stages of the Gr. 1 Ronald McDonald NZ Stakes. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn).

Sakhee’s Soldier being challenged hotly on the outside by Rising Romance in the final stages of  last year’s Gr. 1 Ronald McDonald NZ Stakes. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn).

There is some confidence in the camp that Sakhee’s Soldier can make it two Group One wins at Ellerslie when he contests the Manco Easter Stakes tomorrow.

Sakhee’s Soldier hasn’t won since he took the Gr. 1 Ronald McDonald House Charities NZ Stakes at Ellerslie 13 months ago, but his fresh-up run for sixth at Te Aroha a fortnight ago showed he was back on the right track.

“He’s going great, back to his old self,” said co-trainer Andrew Forsman. “He’s had his share of issues but he seems to be over them.”

Sakhee’s Soldier underwent a bone chip operation after his NZ Stakes win, ruling out a possible trip to Australia. But Forsman says there is the possibility he could get to Australia this campaign.

“If he goes well on Saturday we could look at taking him to Brisbane,” said Forsman. “There’s nothing here for him after this one.”

Sakhee’s Soldier has won eight of his 19 starts and strung five wins together during the summer of 2004-15, culminating in wins in the Gr. 3 Eagle Technology Stakes and the Gr. 2 Rich Hill Mile, both at Ellerslie.

Under the set weights and conditions of the Easter Stakes, Sakhee’s Soldier will carry 58kg, 1kg below the topweight Julinsky Prince, and he will be ridden as usual by Matt Cameron.

The Baker – Forsman stable is staging a two-pronged Easter attack with Charmont, to be ridden by Sam Collett, also in the lineup.

Charmont gained an overdue win at Trentham two starts ago then headed to Riccarton, where she finished a close third to Coulee in the Gr. 3 Valachi Downs South Island Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.

“Under the conditions of the race she gets in on the minimum (53kg),” said Forsman. “She has been working well.”

The Baker – Forsman stable will be represented in each of the black-type races at Ellerslie with Eleonora contesting the Listed Auckland Co-Op Taxis Champagne Stakes and Verdi, the half-brother to Sir Slick and Puccini, tackling the Gr. 2 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes.

The stable also has runners in both the black-type races at Riccarton. Twilight Rebel will start in the Listed NZ Bloodstock Warstep Stakes and Maygrove is a leading chance in the Gr. 3 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup.