Co-trainer Andrew Forsman is yet to confirm plans for the stable’s Caulfield Cup winning New Zealand galloper Mongolian Khan to run in the Australian Cup 2016 in March despite the horse’s short price in futures betting.
Prepared at Cambridge by Forsman and Murray Baker, four-year-old Holy Roman Emperor stallion Mongolian Khan has amassed over $3.8 million in prize money over his 13 starts to date.
A winner of eight of those races the champion is a Group 1 winner both at home and in Australia.
His maiden top level win was last February in the New Zealand Derby before his subsequent Australian Derby win at Randwick in April.
During the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival the horse continued to shine, his smart four run campaign capped off with a half-length win over French galloper Trip To Paris in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17.
Mongolian Khan hasn’t raced again since but is nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on ‘Super Saturday’, March 12.
The Australian bookmakers are taking no chances with the three time Group 1 winner, Mongolian Khan installed as an $11 shot in futures Australian Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Above him in the all-in Australian Cup betting markets are Chris Waller’s Turnbull Stakes winning Zabeel four-year-old Preferment ($8), the John O’Shea-trained import Bow Creek ($9) and David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Melbourne Cup third placed Sebring stallion Criterion ($9).
Speaking to Sky Sports Radio Forsman admitted that while all was ticking along nicely with Mongolian Khan, the Australian Cup might come around too quickly.
“That’s probably going to come a bit quick but who knows,” he said.
“We’ve kept all options open – there’s a mile weight-for-age race here at home he could kick off in at the end of February so it’s very much wait and see with him.”
Also down under bound for the trainers is Turn Me Loose who will resume in the $500,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13.
The four-year-old son of Iffraaj enjoyed a stellar spring raid in Melbourne last campaign winning three black-types on the trot including the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 7.
Turn Me Loose impressed with a smart two and a half-length barrier trial win at home at Avondale on Tuesday with his regular rider Opie Bosson in the saddle, the perfect lead-up to his return trip to Oz.
In the 1200m heat the horse defeated a class line-up including 2015 Rosehill Guineas winner Volkstok’n’barrell and Forsman was full of praise for his trial performance.
“He drew the outside barrier and the rail was out a long way but he jumped well, worked forward and won well,” he said.
“He kicked away on the line so he’s pretty much where we want him which is encouraging.”
Bosson was also full of post-trial praise for the galloper according to Forsman.
“He was very rapt, I haven’t heard Opie that bullish about a horse for a long time,” Forsman said.
“At this stage Opie will ride him everywhere we go.”
That includes in the 2016 CF Orr Stakes where Forsman is confident the horse can turn up and add another Australian Group 1 win to his record.
“He’s always vulnerable first-up because he normally doesn’t peak until three or four runs in but I think he’s as forward as we’ve ever had him so we’re looking forward to Saturday week,” he said.
“Up to a mile and middle distance is probably where he is best suited but if he can nab a Group I over in Australia at 1400 it’s going to be big for his CV.”
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