Champion New Zealand trainer Murray Baker’s Australian spring carnival team has hit the ground running and The Chosen One will try to keep the momentum going in the Group Two Feehan Stakes.
Baker, who is now in partnership with Andrew Forsman at Cambridge, has won 21 Group One races in Australia over the past three decades, more than any New Zealand-based trainer.
He has started this season’s spring carnival assault with three-year-old Quick Thinker winning the Group Three Ming Dynasty Quality last Saturday in Sydney, while stablemate Rhaegar was fourth.
Fellow three-year-old Long Jack followed up on Friday at Ballarat in Victoria when he won a 1400m maiden with Damian Lane aboard to press his claims for bigger spring targets over further ground.
Multiple stakes winner The Chosen One puts his Melbourne spring credentials to the test first-up in Saturday’s Feehan (1600m) at The Valley where he is a chance to give the stable and Lane a second win in the weight-for-age event from the past three runnings.
Lane won on Bonneval for Baker and Forsman in 2017 while the jockey’s success for the stable also includes the 2017 Group One Australian Derby on Jon Snow.
The Chosen One is nominated for the Cox Plate (2040m), Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Baker pinpointed the Feehan as the right race to launch the four-year-old’s Melbourne campaign.
“This will give us an idea if he is up to weight-for-age and where we are with him,” Baker said.
“But we’ve got him as fit as we can so we hope he can run a race.
“He’s quite a promising stayer. So we’ll just get a line on him tomorrow.”
The Chosen One came from last for fourth in the Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick in April before winning the Group Three Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at the same track two weeks later.
“His run in the Derby was huge,” Baker said.
“He is coming up well. It’s probably a tough race first-up but we’ve got to make a start.”
Baker said Quick Thinker and Rhaegar would stay in Sydney on a Spring Champion Stakes path, while the stable’s three horses in Melbourne include dual New Zealand Group One winner and Australian Derby runner-up Madison County who had a jump-out at Flemington on Friday morning.
“He went well,” Baker said.
“He’s not quite ready to race yet.
“He will probably kick off in the Rupert Clarke Stakes (Sept 21).”