The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman training partnership set a new record for the most victories at stakes level in a New Zealand season when promising colt Quick Thinker took out the Listed Buffalo & Co Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
The win by the So You Think colt was the 21st black-type winner for the season for the Cambridge duo who prepare him for well-known Australian-based group OTI Racing.
Racing in OTI’s familiar gold and navy blue striped colours, Quick Thinker did plenty of work early in the race to loop the field three-wide before settling outside the muddling speed set by Ranger.
Rider Matt Cameron had Quick Thinker travelling easily approaching the home turn before asking for an effort as the field straightened for the run home. Quick Thinker quickly burst to the front and maintained a solid gallop to the line to win by a three-quarters of a length at just his second start.
Baker admitted he was keen on the colt’s chances prior to the race after he had taken plenty of benefit out of his debut run for second at Rotorua a week ago.
“He’s bred to be a staying horse and we were confident he would go well today at the mile,” he said. “He might be a middle-distance horse in the spring where we might get him to Melbourne or something like that.
View Quick Thinker’s race below:
“Winning rider Matt Cameron was full of praise for Quick Thinker. “He’s going to be a very, very good horse,” he said. “The plan wasn’t to go forward; it was just to see if he could settle somewhere and finish off.
“He pulled himself up (to the pace) and then we got a breather across the top and he was just too strong. “It’s only his second start and his debut was more like a trial.”
“The Baker and Forsman polish went on and that’s why they have such good three-year-olds as they burn around as two-year-olds, win these stakes races and then when they come out at three everything is so easy for them.”
Quick Thinker is a half-brother to Group III placed The August from stakes-placed Al Maher mare Acouplamas, who comes from the family of Group I classic winners Blackfriars and Larrocha.
Not long after celebrating stakes success in New Zealand with promising So You Think two-year-old Quick Thinker, the OTI Racing group had more to be happy about when seasoned stayer Grey Lion (IRE) scored a well-deserved first Black Type win in the Group III JRA Plate at Randwick.
A seven-year-old son of Galileo, Grey Lion first came to Australia for the 2016 Melbourne Cup in which he finished 14th to Almandin (GER) after running second in the Group III Geelong Cup. He remained in Australia after that spring in the Matt Cumani stable and has been consistent since then, albeit without winning a major prize.
Transferred to Matt Smith after winning at Randwick last July in a Benchmark 90, Grey Lion was having his second run back from a spell for his new trainer and hit the line hard to win the 2000 metre contest running away with Kathy O’Hara in the saddle.
Grey Lion defied his $41 starting price with a decisive 1-1/4 length victory over Emperor’s Way ($9.50) in the JRA Plate (2000m) after weaving a passage from back in the field.
“Everything just worked out perfectly,” O’Hara said. “Gaps formed and opened up when they needed to. He took the runs and won with something in hand. “He is a lovely horse. He is a lovely, big, strong boy. I think he has got a little bit more up his sleeve.”
View Grey Lion’s race below:
Smith was thrilled with Grey Lion who has had one previous start for him when sixth in last month’s Doncaster Prelude. “Kathy rode for a bit of luck today and she got it,” he said. “When the breaks came the horse was full of running and it was a good win.”
Grey Lion has the overall record of six wins and eight placings from 31 starts and has earned over $500,000 In prizemoney. He is a full brother to French Group I winner Golden Lilac from Group I winning Danehill mare Grey Lilas. Grey Lion is the 290th stakes-winner worldwide for Coolmore’s legendary sire Galileo.
Articles by: Tara Madgwick (Breednet)