Exciting New Zealand three-year-old Aegon put in an uncustomary subpar performance in the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on Saturday when running sixth, and now trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are reassessing the colt’s autumn plans.
It was the first defeat for the son of Sacred Falls, who had previously won all five of his starts, including the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m), Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), and Gr.2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m).
The Randwick Guineas was just a fortnight after the Hobartville and Forsman, who part-owns the colt with the Zame family, said he didn’t handle the shorter turnaround between runs.
“It was a pretty flat run,” Forsman said. “We weren’t quite sure what to make of it, but we are thankful that he has come through it unscathed.
“All we can put it down to is that he didn’t handle for the first time in his life having to run on a two-week back-up. We have always kept him fresh and it’s pretty obvious the reason why.
“He is fine and we will give him a quiet few days and then reassess our options.”
Taking into account their new findings, Baker and Forsman are now leaning towards a tilt at the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) next month and bypass the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (1600m) on Saturday-week.
“Realistically we are more leaning towards just running in the Doncaster, but we are not getting too carried away with plans just yet,” Forsman said.
Aegon was purchased by Forsman out of Waikato Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $150,000.
Looking to Rosehill on Saturday, the Cambridge conditioners could line-up both Quick Thinker and The Chosen One in the Gr.3 Sky High Stakes (2000m).
Weather will play a deciding factor in that decision, particularly around Quick Thinker backing up from his fifth-placing in the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.
“We are a bit unsure about Quick Thinker with the back-up,” Forsman said. “It is tempting to run him. We initially dodged this race because he is not that well off under the set weights conditions. If the rain does land on Thursday and Friday it is tempting to run him.
“They are both very well and it will all depend on how the track comes up.”
The Chosen One will head into Saturday in a somewhat fresh state after a first-up runner-up effort in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) last month, and a subsequent 1030m trial at Rosehill last week.
“It was a good trial for him over a short distance,” Forsman said. “I thought he was pretty competitive for him. He is not a naturally fast horse, but I thought he trialled really well and pulled up well.
“It probably suits him going in a little fresh. His second-up record isn’t outstanding, he can put in the odd ordinary run second-up, so hopefully that’s not the case on Saturday.”
Closer to home on Saturday, Baker and Forsman will saddle strong chances Robusto and Star Tsar in the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m).
The stablemates finished first and third in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) respectively last start, and Forsman is hoping for another bold showing from both runners on their favoured track.
“Both of them ran really well in the Avondale Cup and they are both in good order heading into Ellerslie,” Forsman said.
“It is a track they both have raced really well at in their last few starts. Hopefully they draw better than they did in the Avondale Cup and they will be even better suited.”