Aegon, My Oberon face tricky draws in FWD Champions Mile

Daryl Timms

29/04/2023 12:00

Andrew Forsman is forging new territory in Hong Kong.
Andrew Forsman is forging new territory in Hong Kong.

Visiting New Zealand trainer Andrew Forsman was hoping to snare a better barrier for his galloper Aegon in the HK$20 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, but the Kiwi is fatalistic ahead of Sunday’s feature at Sha Tin on 30 April.

The young trainer believes there is no point worrying about things you can’t control over and, on reflection, concedes drawing barrier five in the eight-horse field could have been worse.

“At the end of the day he is probably going to settle back any way, but it would have been nice to have drawn a little bit softer,” he said. “It’s a smaller field and he shouldn’t be too far off them.

“If he is close enough, hopefully he is good enough to be in it.”

Forsman said he hoped that applying the blinkers for the first time on the Group 1-winning Aegon would reap some benefits but admitted he was a little worried how it would affect the horse coming out of the barriers.

“He has never been good and always can scrabble out of the gates a little bit,” he said. “But I think the blinkers will help him travel up into the race when he sets up on a bit of flat spot. We haven’t done much work with him this week.”

Aegon familiarises himself with Sha Tin.
Aegon familiarises himself with Sha Tin.

Aegon, winner of the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and also a G2 winner in Sydney, had a solid hit-out on the Sha Tin turf last Saturday (22 April) and again galloped on the grass on Thursday.

“With his track work on Thursday we tried to make him go as steady as he could, but he had a good hit out last Saturday so he has had his good serious work about a week ago,” Forsman said.

“This week has really been just about keeping him up to the mark.’’

Forsman said Aegon is well travelled and has had a lot of flights and there was no surprise the five-year-old son of Sacred Falls had settled in well to his temporary home at Sha Tin.

“We are hoping that a small field will help him on Sunday,” he said.

Forsman said Aegon would complete his work leading into Sunday’s race with a couple of quiet laps of Sha Tin’s All Weather track on Saturday.

James McDonald seeks more G1 Hong Kong glory on Sunday.
James McDonald seeks more G1 Hong Kong glory on Sunday.

While Aegon, to be ridden by Australian-based James McDonald, will be up against Hong Kong’s best in Golden Sixty and California Spangle, the gelding will also be opposed to Australia’s My Oberon, who has drawn the outside barrier for Sydney trainer Annabel Neasham and jockey Joao Moreira.

My Oberon is represented by 16 owners who have travelled from Australia to Hong Kong for the race and though they would have liked to have drawn in a bit closer, one of the owners, Glenn Carmody said they weren’t too concerned.

“We didn’t want to be drawn in but five to seven would have been ideal,” Carmody said. “It’s a small field and there looks to be good speed in it and he should be able to find a spot.”

Neasham arrived in Hong Kong on Friday afternoon.

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