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Forsman bringing noise to Ellerslie features

3 minute read

Andrew Forsman will be chasing several repeats of history with seven runners across the two features events at Ellerslie on Saturday.

WHITE NOISE winning the HARCOURTS WHANGAREI Picture: Race Images Photo

The Cambridge-based trainer won last year's edition of the Gr.3 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m) with White Noise , and the son of El Roca will be among Forsman's talented trio contesting Saturday's race, alongside Group Two performers Saint Bathans and Devastate.

White Noise has been lightly-raced since his impressive 2023 title and Forsman is hoping to see improvement out of a uncharacteristic performance at Trentham fresh-up on April 6.

"It was disappointing on face value, Masa Hashizume rode him and said he failed to handle what was a shifty track. Hopefully we can just put it down to that," he said.

"He has improved a lot from the trip to Trentham, and his work has been great."

Stablemate Saint Bathans has thrived since returning from Forsman's Victorian stable in December, with a narrow miss in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) highlighting a consistent campaign.

"He ran well again last time (at Pukekohe), he's in really good form," Forsman said. "He is a horse that operates better on rain-affected surfaces so Ellerslie is a question mark, but he has drawn a barrier which means he can get a bit of cover and won't have to get too far off them.

"If he brings his best form, we know he will be competitive.

Completing his Easter Handicap contenders is Devastate who is appearing second-up after being badly hampered late in a strong fresh-up run for third at Pukekohe.

"He ran well first-up, he had a tough run and wasn't given any favours at all," Forsman said.

"Stepping up to the mile will suit him, his ability to race on pace is a big advantage and I think he'll run well."

Saint Bathans is the first-elect with the bookmakers of Forsman's runners at $7, with White Noise at $8.50 and Devastate at $9.50 in an even market.

Among Forsman's quintet for the Gr.3 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m) is The Patron Saint, a half-brother to the stable's dual Horse Of The Year and Oaks heroine Bonneval, as well as Lord Arthur, who Forsman and former training partner Murray Baker prepared to win the three-year-old feature in 2019.

"He's a promising horse with good ability. He is coming off a maiden win so it's a big step-up in grade for sure, but he has the ability to jump and put himself in the race which is a big plus at Ellerslie," Forsman said.

The lightly-tried son of Dissident is the lesser-favoured of the stablemates sitting at $18, with promising filly Moonlight Magic topping the early TAB market at $4 after running sixth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), and facing interference in fourth in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2100m).

"She's had a very frustrating preparation," Forsman said.

"She's a better horse than her form line reads, she was very unlucky last start and was cost valuable black-type through interference so hopefully she can gain that on Saturday."

Forsman has engaged Joe Doyle and Craig Grylls respectively aboard the pair, while Listed performer Rebecchi and Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (3200m) runner First Innings will have the services of Billy Jacobson and Masa Hashizume respectively.

"It was nice to see him (Rebecchi) back racing well last time out, and his sectionals were very good so the step-up to 2000m should be perfect for him," Forsman said.

"First Innings probably didn't have all favours in the Derby, he got caught in a bit of an awkward spot and had to work quite hard early.

"It may have been a bit too much too soon, but he's had a freshen-up since and his work has been great this week. I'm looking forward seeing how he goes."

Forsman will also be represented by Armino and Blissfull Lady in the Vale Bob Fulton 2100, the latter he indicated to be a key hope in the staying ranks next season after an impressive last-start victory over 2200m.

"She (Blissfull Lady) was in really good form, that's why we ran her from such a poor draw last start. We thought even if she got back she could win, and Billy (Jacobson) rode her perfectly so the plan came off," he said.

"Again, we've had no favours with the barrier on Saturday (14), and going up in grade at Ellerslie means we can't drag her back to last and hope for a similar result. She will be up against it, but I feel she's a mare that will really hit her straps next season, so if we can get one or two more runs into her, she'll be in for a big campaign next time in.

"Armino has had a couple of runs at distances short of his best, heading to the middle-distance will suit and his ability to race on speed will certainly help."

Proven filly Ethereal Star will aim to overcome a muddled month of missed racing when contesting the Auckland Co-Op Taxis 1500, alongside stablemate Russian Satire.

"She (Ethereal Star) hasn't had much luck of late, the last month has been a mess for her having to be scratched off the heavy track at Tauranga, then we thought we had the perfect race for her but she walked out of her box with a foot abscess the day before," Forsman said.

"She got over that pretty quickly, and now hopefully we can get her back to the races in her best form.

"Russian Satire is coming off a bit of a freshen-up and trialled well, we've just been looking for a good race to kick her off in. She's drawn well, she'll get a soft run and will improve for the day out." 

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