Two-pronged Group One attack

Aretha appreciated the footing when winning the Gr.2 J. Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes and rates a big chance at Awapuni tomorrow.

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will have a two-pronged attack in the Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni tomorrow.

 The pair will line up talented colt Holy Mongolemperor and Group Two-winning filly Aretha in the juvenile feature and they are excited about both of their runners chances.

“Aretha and Holy Mongolemperor are two really good chances,” Forsman said.

“I am quite looking forward to seeing how Holy Mongolemperor steps up to the 1400m. It was a really good effort at Trentham (when runner-up to Equinox over 1200m). He’s a colt with a lot of ability that seems to be improving all the time.”

Forsman said he was pleased with both runners heading into the race and finds it hard to split the pair with Holy Mongolemperor drawing eight and Aretha nine.

“On a fast track it’s hard to know,” Forsman said. “Aretha has been very good on rain-affected ground. They have both drawn awkwardly.

“She’s got tactical speed so she can jump and put herself on the pace, whereas he will get back.  But I think if he gets a clear run he could come with a big finish. I am pretty happy with where he is at going into it.”

The Baker-Forsman barn will also line up Group One winner Saint Emilion in the Gr.2 City of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m).

Forsman said Saint Emilion had been pleasing but luckless in his last few starts and is hoping the wet weather forecast for Palmerston North will stay away.

“He’s really well,” Forsman said. ‘’He has been going well for a while now. He just hasn’t had things to suit on race day unfortunately.

“If the weather holds, he will get things to suit. Hopefully he can jump, roll along and try and get back in the winner’s circle.”

Meanwhile, impressive last start winner Spring Delight looms as the stable’s leading chance in the Gr.3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic (2000m).

She will compete alongside in-form stablemates The Chosen One, Nordic and Lord Arthur.

“The filly Spring Delight was pretty impressive last week (at Tauranga),” Forsman said.

“I think the key is that she has drawn barrier two, whereas all of the boys, while they are all going well, have drawn awkward barriers. The 2000m start is a big run to sort yourself out before that first bend, so they are going to need a bit of luck.

“She seems to have bounced through her impressive win in good order so I guess on the strength of a good barrier draw and knowing that she will get a good run, she is probably the benchmark of the four.”

– NZ Racing Desk