Queensland Beckoning NZ Oaks Runner-Up

A trip to Brisbane to compete in the Queensland Winter Carnival is on the cards for Positivity following her runner-up performance behind Pulchritudinous in last Saturday’s Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham.

Racing in the colours of owner Ben Kwok, the daughter of Almanzor had won the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie a fortnight prior, and her brave Oaks performance gave trainer Andrew Forsman the confidence to press on towards an Australian campaign with his filly.

“It was a good effort (in the Oaks),” Forsman said. “Trentham is a hard track to be exposed as far out as she was. Masa (Hashizume, jockey) had no choice but to make his run when he did, and the winner had the right run and came down the best part of the track. She was brave, we were really happy with her.

“We just had to give it a few days to process as to what was going to be best (path) and we decided to get her to the paddock for a week and a half and ideally she will go to Brisbane for a two or three race campaign.

“A rough plan of attack, without having nailed it right down, would be the (Gold Coast) Bracelet (Listed, 1800m), into the Roses (Gr.2, 2100m), into the Oaks (Gr.1, 2200m). Whether it is all of those races or just two of them we will just work that out closer to the time once she is back in and going.”

Forsman said track conditions and avoiding a couple of classy fillies are the major factors behind bypassing the Sydney Autumn Carnival in favour of Brisbane.

“I think she will suit the tracks better and there’s a better chance of getting good footing,” he said. “Sydney can be a bit hit and miss and she needs Good ground. She will obviously be dodging two classy fillies in Sydney (as well).”

Meanwhile, Forsman is looking forward to taking a quartet of runners to Tauranga on Saturday, including Saint Bathans, who will compete in the Gr.2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (1600m).

After a freshen-up following his runner-up performance in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day, the son of Maurice finished third behind Fashion Shoot and stablemate Mustang Valley at Tauranga on Saturday, and Forsman is expecting the seven-day back-up to favour his gelding.

“He was super first-up. We never really intended to lead, but with the lack of tempo in the race he ended up there, and I thought he was very brave,” Forsman said.

“He seems to operate well on a back-up, so hopefully that will work for him this weekend.”

Forsman was also pleased with Mustang Valley’s first-up run last Saturday and is now weighing up between trans-Tasman targets with his Group One winner.

“We had intended to go to Sydney next week to run in the Emancipation (Gr.2, 1500m),” he said. “In the next day or two we will weigh up whether we will head that way or stay home and run in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ (Gr.1, 1600m) at Ellerslie next Saturday.”

Another Australian feature could be a deciding factor.

“The Queen of the Turf (Gr.1, 1600m), on the last day of The Championships, looks like a nice race if they can get a bit of rain over there,” he said.

Forsman is also set to line-up Ethereal Star in the Snow Williams Bayleys Country 1600 at Tauranga, with her performance dictating her future plans.

She is on a bit of a test,” Forsman said. “We toyed with going back to 1400m against her own age, but we want to see her run out a strong mile and decide whether she is going to be a horse that can get a mile and further.”

Ethereal Star will be joined in her race by stablemate and last start winner Blissful Lady, while Forsman’s Tauranga team will be rounded out by Armino in the Peter Clarke Bayleys Residential 1400.

– NZ Racing Desk

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