Top stable improves Derby and Auckland Cup prospects

Mongolian Khan (Opie Bosson) moves into second favourite for the TV3 NZ Derby with a convincing win over Giant Turtle in the Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas. (Photo: Trish Dunell).

Mongolian Khan (Opie Bosson) moves into second favourite for the TV3 NZ Derby with a convincing win over Giant Turtle in the Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas. (Photo: Trish Dunell).

Today’s Te Rapa meeting was another successful day at the office for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, but more importantly the results boosted their Group One prospects at the Auckland Cup Carnival.

The Cambridge trainers took four horses to the Waikato meeting and picked up wins with Show The World, Mongolian Khan and Victor Hugo to go with their three midweek wins (Pipi Beel, Andaluce and Ana) to take their tally for the season to 64, putting them 19 ahead of nearest rival Lisa Latta (who won the last race today with Stunning Princess) on the NZ Trainers Premiership.

However, their premiership’s standing was overshadowed by the excitement of their three latest winners, particularly with Group One tilts looming for Mongolian Khan and Show The World.

Mongolian Khan, a son of Holy Roman Emperor, took his record to four wins from five starts with a strong victory in the Gr. 2 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas, scoring by a half-length from the pacemaker Giant Turtle with the maiden Prima fighting on gallantly for third.

The win has seen Mongolian Khan move into a clear second favourite in the TAB Fixed Odds betting for Gr. 1 TV3 NZ Derby at Ellerslie on February 28. He is now at $5 behind the “talk horse” Volkstok’n’barrell, who is a dominant $2.50 favourite and the pair are the only ones at single figure odds.

It was a fine training performance to have Mongolian Khan in winning form, having not raced since taking the Listed Jesters Pies 3YO Salver at Ellerslie on December 14. His trainers had used a barrier trial on their home track (for a second) to help his fitness for today’s event.

“He hasn’t run for seven weeks and I thought he’d be a little bit vulnerable today,” said Baker. “His class took him through. He’s a beautiful colt and I’m sure there’s a lot of improvement out of today.”

Baker praised the ride of Opie Bosson, who settled the handsome colt in second placing then had him third with 800 metres to run. Once Bosson asked him for an effort in the run home it was obvious he was going to win, though Giant Turtle fought back well.

“He relaxes beautifully,” said Bosson. “The further he goes the better.”

Baker has won many Group One races on both sides of the Tasman, but success in the New Zealand Derby has eluded his stable, a fact he hopes to change later this month.

“This horse has quite a bit of upside and he’s run twice at Ellerslie before and won them both,” said Baker.”

The Auckland Cup is a race which is on Baker’s CV, having won it 25 years ago with Miss Stanima, and he will be trying to add Show The World’s name to the honours board next month.

Show The World, a son of the 2005 Auckland Cup winner Bazelle, put himself right into contention for the Gr. 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup when winning today’s Allied Security Hamilton Cup in the hands of Matt Cameron.

Following on from a third in the Gr. 3 Scot Thrust City Of Auckland Cup, Show The World scored by a long neck from fellow Cambridge galloper Farm Boy, who ran on strongly down the outside.

“He had 10 days R and R after Ellerslie and came in fresh today and sprinted good,” said Baker. “The win makes sure he will take a possie in the Auckland Cup. He’ll run in the Avondale Cup then the Auckland Cup.”

Victor Hugo, the stable’s other winner today, doesn’t have any lofty immediate missions, but the manner in which he successfully handled the step up from a Trentham win in Rating 65 class to take the Rating 75 Tasman Roofing 1600 was impressive, especially under the topweight of 59kg.

He was last on settling and still there turning for home. Rider Opie Bosson then had to hold him up as he angled from the inside outwards to gain racing room and when he pressed the button the four-year-old accelerated stylishly to storm to the front and win going away.

“He wasn’t hitting out that flash and it took him probably to the half-mile to start really hitting out,” said Bosson. “From then on he starting come up underneath me, but I wasn’t really confident till about the 400 metres when I angled him out for a run. He showed a good turn of foot when I got him out.”

Victor Hugo is raced by his breeder Bob Emery and Baker says he is still learning what racing is all about.

“It’s taken a while for the penny to drop. He was thick early but he’s starting to know now,” said Baker. “He’s a Fastnet Rock that should run 2000 metres ok.”