Trainers hoping he’s on the rise

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have gone back to the drawing board with comeback galloper On The Level.

The duo had high hopes On The Level would bounce back to his best form at Trentham last start when contesting the Mill Reef Trentham Stakes, but the son of Align was a battling ninth of 14, just on five lengths behind the winner, O’Fille.

On The Level had settled four-back on the inner for rider Opie Bosson and improved out of the spot near the turn. He did get hampered slightly halfway down the straight, but just battled over the final stages.

“It was a disappointing run,” said Forsman. “He was flat most of the way and in the straight the gap was there for him and one came around and brushed him and put him off stride, but he still had his chance. It was a head-scratcher of a run.”

On The Level had hinted he was on the right track when preceding the Trentham Stakes effort with a second to Sophie’s Dream in a Rating 85 1600 metres at Ellerslie on December 29. That was his second-up run after finishing eighth a fortnight earlier at Te Rapa.

On The Level was one of the better three-year-olds of his year, picking up a couple of wins and four placings. Among the placings were a second in the Avondale Guineas, a third in Jimmy Choux’s NZ Derby and a fourth in the Waikato Guineas.
He went amiss after the Derby and spent 20 months away from the racetrack.

“He tore his off-fore suspensory ligament and he had a long, steady recovery,” said Forsman. “He did a lot of work behind a trotter and we got him almost up to trailling stage then backed off and put him out again.”

Forsman says On The Level has shown no signs of the leg problem since being in work and is hoping to see the horse run a much improved race in the Skycity Hamilton Casino Cup at Te Rapa on Saturday.

“He’s been working well and Matt Cameron will ride him,” said Forsman.

The Baker — Forsman stable will also be represented at Te Rapa by Decorah, a last-start winner who will contest the Loch Haven Thoroughbreds 1600, in which she will be ridden by Opie Bosson.

“We think she could be an Oaks filly,” said Forsman. “She won well last time and should be a good chance again.”
Decorah has recorded two wins from five starts and the first of those wins was at Te Rapa.