New Zealand trainer Andrew Forsman believes Geelong Classic winner Weather With You has come right at the right time for the $1.5 million Victoria Derby.
Forsman trains in partnership with Murray Baker and the stable will rely on Weather With You in Saturday’s 2500m Classic at Flemington after deciding not to run Vin De Dance.
Vin De Dance was brought over from New Zealand earlier this month but Forsman said the Derby had come up too soon for the gelding.
He said Vin De Dance still raced greenly when fifth in the Group Two Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday and instead is likely to run wearing blinkers in an 1800m-Listed race on Thursday week at Flemington.
Weather With You has been in Melbourne since August but took a while to really hit his straps.
He was second in a 1400m-Sandown maiden in his Australian debut before finishing fourth in the Victoria Derby Trial (1800m) at Flemington.
After his seventh in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m), Weather With You had blinkers applied for the Geelong Classic (2200m) and rose to the challenge to sit on the pace and win by a short neck.
“His first two runs were just OK and his third run was very frustrating and left us wondering where we were at with him,” Forsman said.
“But obviously the blinkers on, a good barrier draw and a good positive ride at Geelong made all the difference.
“I thought it was a gutsy effort and he was strong at the line.
“He’s always looked a nice relaxed staying horse and from what I’ve seen of all the Derby candidates he looks like he’s going to run the distance out as strongly as any of them.”
Forsman said Weather With You had done very well in the past few weeks and had kept improving.
“He’s dropped his winter coat so I think he’s coming right at the right time,” he said.
Mark Zahra rode Weather With You at Geelong and retains the ride for the Derby.
Spring Champion Stakes winner Ace High is the $4 favourite ahead of Main Stage ($4.40), with Sully and Tangled at $6.
Weather With You is next at $8 to give Baker his second Derby win with Lion Tamer successful in 2010.