Sydney targets beckon Mustang Valley

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  • March 15, 2024
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Sydney targets beckon Mustang Valley

By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Australian shores are beckoning Mustang Valley once more, and trainer Andrew Forsman is looking forward to seeing if she is up to the task when she heads to Tauranga on Saturday to kick-off her autumn preparation in the BOP Equine Vets Open Handicap (1400m) at Tauranga.

The dual Group One-winning daughter of Vanbrugh was last seen on Kiwi shores last October in a campaign that included an impressive victory in the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) before heading across the Tasman for two unplaced efforts.

Courtesy of apprentice jockey Ngakau Hailey’s three-kilogram claim, the mare will get some weight relief from her 63kg allocated weight on Saturday, and Forsman indicated it would be a hopeful springboard towards another Australian target.

“The 1400m fresh-up suits her, she’s trialled well and worked really well, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see her in the finish,” he said.

“It’s never easy giving weight to good horses, but she’s a good horse herself, she’s a dual Group One winner with class.

“We’ll get this run into her and there’s plenty of options around. Sydney is potentially on the cards, we are possibly looking at the Queen Of The Turf Stakes (Gr.1, 1600m) on the final day of The Championships.”

Among the mare’s seven rivals is stablemate Saint Bathans, the imposing Maurice five-year-old also returning in a fresh state after going down by a nose to Habana in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) on New Year’s Day.

“He’s great, he trialled really well the other day too, but also coming off a freshen-up so he may be a touch vulnerable at the 1400m,” Forsman said.

Forsman is looking at a return to Tauranga for next Saturday’s Gr.2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (1600m) for the gelding, who carries 6kg less than Mustang Valley with Billy Jacobson in the saddle.

“It’s really just a run to set him up to ideally back-up next Saturday in the set weights and penalties mile at Tauranga, which we are definitely considering,” he said.

“He should be competitive though, and any rain around will certainly help his chances.”

Completing Forsman’s team will be classy Snitzel filly Ethereal Star, who will tackle the Super Liquor Greerton 1600.

“She was good in the Karaka Millions ($1.5 million 3YO, 1600m) with a hard run and we dropped her back to the 1400m at Ellerslie (Gr.3 Mufhasa Stakes), where she possibly looked like a horse that wants to be getting over further,” Forsman said.

“That ruled out going for the 1400m and all the way to Wellington (for the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas).

“It’s not easy taking on Rating 75 horses at a mile, but we want to test her again at that distance again to see where she’s at. If she can get a mile or further, it opens up options potentially in Brisbane for her.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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