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Teamwork key to stable’s stellar season

3 min read

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have set themselves a hard act to follow this season, but then again, they have never let records stand in their way. A stellar 2017-18 innings set them apart from their rivals by some distance with results flowing from the strongest of foundations.

“Murray and myself are only part of it, we have some very capable people behind us and it’s thanks to them for where we are,” Forsman said. “Our staff do the hard yards and all the work behind the scenes that nobody sees. Murray and I can’t go to every meeting, but we have excellent senior staff that we can rely on to look after things.”

“Our staff do the hard yards and all the work behind the scenes that nobody sees.” - Andrew Forsman

Teamwork has ensured the all-conquering Cambridge stable will again play a starring role at Sunday evening’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Horse of the Year Awards. They made the race to retain their Trainer of the Year title a one horse affair with their finishing tally a remarkable 61 clear of the closest chaser.

Andrew Forsman

History makers

When Baker and Forsman won their first premiership in the 2014-15 season they bettered John Sargent’s previous record of 111 wins by three. They have subsequently lifted the crown a further two times with their 2017-18 winning tally a history-making 142.

“We knew we had a decent amount of firepower to surpass the previous record and we were confident we would have a good season, but the real highlight was that we never had a flat patch,” Forsman said. “Every horse is treated as an individual and we don’t necessarily set specific targets, other than to get the best out of every horse.

“We knew we had a decent amount of firepower to surpass the previous record and we were confident we would have a good season.” - Andrew Forsman

“We don’t run a lot of 2-year-olds and don’t push then. When we need to back off we do and our results show that with the success we have with older horses.

Stable star Bonneval

Patient owners

“We take the younger ones as far as they’re willing to go and then turn them out. Fortunately, we have owners that are patient in that regard and we’re thankful for all the support. It has been hugely satisfying thanks to our very good staff, owners and jockeys.”

“We take the younger ones as far as they’re willing to go and then turn them out.”

Included in the stable’s 2017-18 tally were 20 domestic Group or Listed victories with a record stakes haul of nearly $4.5 million. The past season also provided Forsman with a personal milestone, as he became the fastest trainer to clock up 500 New Zealand wins, but his own highlight arrived at Ellerslie in the autumn.

“It was Vin De Dance’s New Zealand Derby win, a Derby is always so special,” he said. “We also competed well in Melbourne and won four stakes races in Australia so we’ve been kicking goals on both sides of the Tasman.”

WATCH: Vin De Dance wins the 2018 New Zealand Derby

They are gearing up for another assault on the upcoming Melbourne spring carnival with a team spearheaded by the stable star Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi {GB}), winner of last season’s G1 Underwood S., in which she accounted for Hartnell (GB) (Authorized {IRE}) and Gailo Chop (FR) (Deportivo {GB}), off the back of her G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam S., success. “She’s coming up really well and she’ll probably follow a similar programme to last year,” Forsman said.