Top trainers on fire

Street Ranger (Danielle Johnson) looked extra smart when winning on debut at Hastings yesterday.

Street Ranger (Danielle Johnson) looked extra smart when winning on debut at Hastings yesterday.

What a week for top trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.

And there looks more success in store for the dynamo duo before the weekend ends.

Within the last three days the Cambridge trainers have won seven races over three meetings with yesterday’s Hastings meeting proving a field day for them with half the eight-race card going their way.

Camino Rocoso, a three-year-old son of Shocking, started the ball rolling when winning impressively at last Wednesday’s Ellerslie twilight meeting and, in doing so, confirming the potential which has seen him being nominated for the Gr.1 Vodafone NZ Derby in March.

Then at the Hastings meeting Princess Sapphire and Street Ranger, two other highly talented three-year-olds from the Baker – Forsman stable, also proved their nominations for Group Ones warranted when joining their stablemates Tomelilla and Desert Storm on the winner’s list.

The attention then swung to today’s Tauranga meeting and Baker and Forsman were successful with Maui Miss and Nailed It for a couple of successful owner-breeders, David Paykel and Emma Evans respectively.

With seven runners at Te Rapa tomorrow, including strong chances in the features, and a further three starters at Ellerslie on Sunday Baker and Forsman have a great opportunity to take their winning tally within five days into double figures.

After watching Queensland finish a close second in the second event at Hastings, the leading trainers were all smiles after the following event when Princess Sapphire, a Savabeel filly owned and bred by Kevin Hickman, improved on her debut fifth at Te Awamutu to win over 1400 metres with Danielle Johnson in the saddle.

Princess Sapphire (Danielle Johnson) showing her talent at Hastings.

Princess Sapphire (Danielle Johnson) showing her talent at Hastings.

Johnson gave her a beautiful run third or fourth, angled her out on the turn and she proved too strong for Soldier Field when winning the Bay Ford/Mazda HB 3YO by a long neck.

She was backed into a $2.90 favourite which wasn’t a surprise considering her trials win at Cambridge and the fact things didn’t go her way at Te Awamutu. She lost a plate at the start and was not happy on the tight turning track.

Princess Sapphire holds nominations for three Group One events, the Randwick Meats Levin Classic at Trentham on January 14 and the Vodafone NZ Derby and Wellfield NZ Oaks, both in March.

The same trainer – jockey combination celebrated an even more decisive win in the next event, the Animal Health Direct 1200, with Street Ranger, an Australian-bred daughter of Street Cry.

Making her debut after three trials (including two thirds), Street Ranger bounced out well, tracked the leader on the outer and after challenging early in the run home she proved too strong for the promising Feisty Jane.

Street Ranger is owned by Ultra Thoroughbred Racing Pty Ltd and is from the good racemare Solvini, whose five wins from 14 starts included the Gr.3 Ford 2YO Classic at New Plymouth and the Gr.3 Lion Red Plate at Rotorua.

Like Princess Sapphire, Street Ranger holds a nomination for the Randwick Meats Levin Classic.

Tomelilla put Baker in the good books with his wife, Marianne, when resuming on a winning note in the Lynn Electrical 1400. The Tavistock four-year-old mare is part-owned by Marianne and was the third winner of the day for Danielle Johnson.

Johnson settled Tomelilla fifth and, with In Another Life setting a hot pace, they were a distant fifth with 800 metres to run. Even halfway down the straight success looked unlikely. But Tomelilla burst thru between the leaders inside the final 150 metres to win racing away by two lengths, taking her record to two wins and two placings from five starts.

Desert Storm (Craig Grylls) recording an impressive debut win at Hastings.

Desert Storm (Craig Grylls) recording an impressive debut win at Hastings.

Desert Storm completed a notable day at Hastings for Baker and Forsman and he did it in style.

He began well and was allowed to stride along in front by rider Craig Grylls and when he kicked with 300 metres to run it was obvious he was about to record an impressive debut win. At the finish he had a length and three-quarters on the runner-up Bob’sthejob.

Desert Storm, a four-year-old son of Zabeel, also completed a fine week for part-owner and co-breeder Rich Hill Stud.

Camino Rocoso had won for the Rich Hill Stud-based sire Shocking at Ellerslie, while the stallion’s daughter Verna Audrey was successful at Wingatui before the exciting Love Shock struck in Hong Kong. And it wasn’t about to end there for Shocking. At Tauranga today Shocking nabbed a quinella with the Margaret Falconer-trained Red Sky At Night charging home to beat Ticket To Ride.

Desert Storm’s win was particularly satisfying for Rich Hill studmaster John Thompson.

“Desert Storm had a setback as a yearling and he couldn’t go through the ring,” said Thompson. “We bred him with Peter Merton, a friend of mine, and he was keen to race him.

“We had him in work as a three-year-old, but he went shin sore after trialling. He’s by Zabeel out of a Pentire mare so the time hasn’t done him any harm and he looks quite exciting.”

Baker and Forsman had plenty to smile about with today’s wins of Maui Miss and Nailed It.

Maui Miss (Michael Coleman) on her winning way at Tauranga today.

Maui Miss (Michael Coleman) on her winning way at Tauranga today.

Maui Miss was pushed along early by Michael Coleman to lead and settled into rhythm and was travelling well coming to the home turn in the Modern Office 1200. She then kicked clear with 250 metres to run and held on well to beat Hush Little Sista by a half-length.

“I’m really happy for David Paykel,” said Forsman. “He has allowed us to give her time and he’s been rewarded. She’s always shown ability and she’s just taken time physically and mentally.”

Maui Miss was having her seventh start and she hinted a win was close when second behind the highly talented Legramor at Te Rapa recently.

“That was a very game run at Te Rapa,” said Forsman. “It wasn’t the intention to lead. She pinged the gates and ended up there.”

Nailed It also improved on a fresh-up run, for sixth at Te Aroha, and won well today for the in-form Opie Bosson. She enjoyed a good run in the trail, was angled out on the turn and came with a well-timed run to live up to her name and nail it.

“She loves a little bit of cut in the ground,” said Bosson. “When the track was downgraded to slow I was pretty confident.”

Nailed It, a six-year-old daughter of Don Eduardo, has now won five races and Bosson has been the successful rider in all bar one of her wins.