Surprise turn-up by Lions’ great

Leading trainers Andrew Forsman and Murray Baker catch up with Lions' great Gavin Hastings at the Cambridge track this morning.

Leading trainers Andrew Forsman and Murray Baker catch up with Lions’ great Gavin Hastings at the Cambridge track this morning.

Tall tales and colourful banter is the norm at racecourse gaps around the country, but Cambridge trainers might have reason to take that to a new level after a trackwork visit from Scottish rugby great Gavin Hastings this morning.

Hastings, who captained the British and Irish Lions on their 1993 tour of New Zealand and played 61 tests for Scotland, was in the Waikato for the Lions game against the Chiefs in Hamilton tonight and took the opportunity to attend trackwork.

Among the trainers to enjoy Hastings’ company were New Zealand’s top training partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, who posed for a photo with the legendary fullback.

Forsman tweeted the photograph with the caption: “An honour to meet Gavin Hastings at the track this morning @Lions #legend #jonahlomurugby” and the visit brought back some fond memories of playing the video game Jonah Lomu Rugby.

“It was quite uncanny. Me and my brothers grew up playing that game and Gavin Hastings was a prominent figure in that,” said Forsman.

“He also played an important part in that 1995 World Cup when Jonah stormed onto the scene. He was a person I grew up with and a name I grew up hearing and watching so it was quite uncanny to meet him.”

Forsman said Hastings had a warning for New Zealand supporters who think the Lions will be a walk over for the rest of the tour.

“He thinks (Warren) Gatland has got a few things up his sleeve and that the Lions won’t be a push over.”

Baker described the Scotsman as a really good guy.

“He’s a mate of our vet Doug Black,” said Baker. “They’ve been mates from way back. He was out at the gap this morning and it was good to meet him.

“He’s big. He’s pretty tall when you stand next to him. He’s a legend of the game and a really nice bloke to go with it.”

Most of the Baker-Forsman team had trained before Hastings arrived and Baker quipped that he was loath to tip their guest into a winner in case he jinxed the one winner they need to bring up their century of wins for the season.

Baker and Forsman have four entries for Pukekohe tomorrow – Socially Excited, Grand Rio, Checkout and Learning To Fly – and will have a handful of runners at Tauranga on Saturday.

– NZ Racing Desk.