Stable shoots for another Group One double

Gasoline (Opie Bosson) in full control at Ellerslie and returning to the track tomorrow.

Gasoline (Opie Bosson) in full control at Ellerslie and returning to the track tomorrow.

Champion trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will go two-handed into two Group One features at Ellerslie tomorrow looking to match their elite-level double on the same day last year. 

Twelve months ago, the training partnership produced Dal Cielo to win the Gr. 1 Diamond Stakes (1200m), while Sakhee’s Soldier claimed a narrow win in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m).

While Baker and Forsman don’t have a runner in the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes this year, they will saddle Gasoline and Saracino in the Sistema Diamond Stakes and Decorah and Show The World in the Gr. 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m), a race shifted from its Wednesday date during Cup week last year.

Gasoline goes into the Diamond Stakes as the higher-ranked of the Baker-Forsman pair, having scored a smart win at Ellerslie on Boxing Day before finishing third to race rivals Heroic Valour and Mongolian Falcon in the Listed Matamata Slipper last start.

“Probably that result was disappointing, but he was only beaten a small margin. He went back to what he did at his first start – he did a bit wrong and was off and on the bit,” said Forsman.

“It wasn’t until the other horse came up outside him that he let down and found the line. It was frustrating, but still encouraging knowing that he can do things wrong but still be right in the finish. Opie [Bosson] back on and a genuinely-run race should be ideal.”

Saracino followed a smart trials win with a gallant debut second to Caorunn in the Gr. 3 Phoenix Park 2YO Classic at New Plymouth.

“It was a big effort. He just had to press forward and do a lot of work,” said Forsman. “He shot clear and was left a sitting shot for something to come out and beat him and a good horse did.

“He’ll only take improvement from that and if he can be ridden off them with something to chase that would be good.”

Forsman rated Decorah and Show The World as “good each way chances” for the Auckland Cup, but said both would come further into contention with any easing of the track.

“Decorah’s two biggest wins have been on genuinely rain-affected tracks so looking at that, on anything better than a dead track, she might struggle a touch,” said Forsman. “But she’s in good form and if she gets a bit of rain, she’s a big chance.

“The two miles will suit Show The World. He’s really matured and looks great. He’s always a chance in these sorts of races.”