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Cambridge couple mastering all racing trades

5 min read
Industry all-rounders Mark and Lorraine Forbes have found thoroughbred success in diversification. They are currently in Sydney at the Inglis Ready2Race Sale, offering three horses, and will prepare a draft of 20 for the NZB Ready to Run Sale next month.

Cambridge couple Mark and Lorraine Forbes are the epitome of a successful Kiwi trading training stable. They buy and sell, break-in a sizeable number of young thoroughbreds every year and also operate a training operation based at Kiltannon Stables.

“We’re at Cambridge where we’ve got 45 boxes, a walker, 18 paddocks and five sand yards so we’re quite well set up,” Lorraine Forbes said.

“We’ve also got a 700 metre track that we use for our babies and just literally walk across the road to the Cambridge training centre.” – Lorraine Forbes.

“We’ve also got a 700 metre track that we use for our babies and just literally walk across the road to the Cambridge training centre. It makes it very easy for us.

“We do about 140 to 180 breakers a year, Mark’s got about 20 racehorses in work most of the time and we also trial a lot and qualify horses to go up to Hong Kong.”

Triple treat for Inglis Ready2Race

Kiltannon are selling a small but select draft at the Inglis Ready2Race Sale, which opens at the Riverside Stables on Monday morning.

Watch: Kiltannon Stables Inglis Ready2Race preview

“We’ve brought three Kiwi-style staying horses over and a Coats Choice for the Asian market,” Mark Forbes said.

“The Tavistock-Glamorous Girl and the Savabeel-I Do are stand-outs and I think they would be at any Sale you took them to.” – Mark Forbes.

“The Tavistock-Glamorous Girl and the Savabeel-I Do are stand-outs and I think they would be at any Sale you took them to. They’ve been great to work with and are both lovely-actioned horses.

“We wanted to split our drafts between here and the New Zealand Bloodstock Sale and take different sires to each sale and it’s worked out perfectly for us, we’ve got no double ups.”

Watch: Tavistock x Glamorous Girl breeze (Lot 74, outside)

Forbes said preparing ready to run sale horses could be trying.

“It’s similar to training a horse, but probably 10 times harder. You only get one crack at it, at least with a racehorse you can tip it out in the paddock and bring them back– with these breeze-up horses you only get one shot at it.”

“It’s similar to training a horse, but probably 10 times harder.” – Mark Forbes.

Kiltannon will also be represented by a 20-strong draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale at Karaka.

An Irish meeting

The couple met while they were both furthering their thoroughbred experience in Europe.

“Mark and I met 10 years ago when we both did the Irish National Stud course together. I came down to New Zealand afterwards to work for Sir Patrick Hogan at Cambridge Stud,” Lorraine said.

“I did the end of the season for him the sales and then went to Australia for a while. Sir Patrick offered me a job and Mark was already there as yearling manager.

“I spent seven years at Cambridge Stud and Mark had been there 11 years overall before we decided it was time to do our own thing.” – Lorraine Forbes.

Mark Forbes

“I spent seven years at Cambridge Stud and Mark had been there 11 years overall before we decided it was time to do our own thing.

“Mark always loved the breaking and riding side and yearling preps so we decided to combine that to do sales horses so the Ready to Run was the ideal sale for us.”

Early success

Forbes enjoyed early success in his training career with He’s Our Rokkii (NZ) (Roc De Cambes {NZ}) before his sale to Australian interests.

“We had a great start the first year with He’s Our Rokkii and he probably should have been a Group 1 winner for us.” – Mark Forbes.

“We had a great start the first year with He’s Our Rokkii and he probably should have been a Group 1 winner for us,” he said.

“Unfortunately, he ran fourth in the Sires’ Produce S., (at Awapuni) when he couldn’t get a run the whole way down the straight.

“We had Royal Fashion and she was beaten only half a-length in the Mongolian Khan Trophy and I had a really nice Power horse that we sent up to Hong Kong for Gene (Tsoi) now called Prance Dragon.

“We’ve had some lovely stock go through the stables.” – Mark Forbes.

“He won his last two on the trot (as Dragon) and then went up there. He had his first start in Hong Kong and ran third. We’ve had some lovely stock go through the stables.

“Marcus Corban has probably been our biggest supporter since day one with Gene Tsoi, Marcus manages all his stock. Sir Patrick and Westbury Stud have also been fantastic to us. They’ve always sent us breakers every year.

“Peter Moody and Wylie Dalziel are others, we do the breakers they buy in New Zealand. We’ve been very fortunate with the support.”

The training side of their business is likely to grow, but the profit is in the selling operation.

“At the moment, with the stakes in New Zealand we have to sell our horses, that’s where our margin is,” Lorraine Forbes said.

“Mark enjoys the racing and will always train and Gene passes us more horses every day so the training side will get a bit bigger.”

Support for Messara

They are both also backing John Messara’s report for change within New Zealand racing.

“I think it’s great and everyone should get behind it and get the industry going the right way,” Mark said.

“We’d love to keep 45 racehorses, but unfortunately our stakes aren’t good enough and you’ve got to sell. If the changes in the Messara Report are implemented, that will change."