Forsman Unveils Karaka Million Contenders

30 November 2022

Ethereal Star (Snitzel)

With a pair of impressive winners of age-group feature races over the last fortnight, Cambridge trainer Andrew Forsman has emerged as a key player for both the $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe on January 21. 

Well-related filly Ethereal Star (Snitzel) was an ultra-impressive winner of the $90,000 Listed Barfoot & Thompson Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe on November 19, moving to the top of the order of entry for the Karaka Million 2YO with career earnings of $57,300.

Ethereal Star is by champion sire Snitzel out of Eleonora (NZ) (Makfi), who was trained by Forsman and former training partner Murray Baker to win the Group Three Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield and Group Three Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie. She also placed in the Group One VRC Oaks (2500m) and is a granddaughter of the great Ethereal (NZ) (Rhythm).

Forsman paid $600,000 to secure Ethereal Star from the Book 1 draft of Blandford Lodge at Karaka 2022.

“It was great to see this filly win like that,” Forsman said. “You’re always a bit nervous when the track is rain-affected and you don’t know whether they are going to handle it, but there were only seven runners and black type was up for grabs.

“Provided she comes through this race well, she won’t need another run between now and the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).

“It’s great to get this result for the Zame Family – we’ve had so much success with their colours over the years – and also Ben Kwok, who has been one of my biggest supporters since I started my solo training career and gave me the confidence to go to Karaka to buy this filly.”

Ethereal Star now has a comfortable lead on the Karaka Million 2YO order of entry, with the second and third-placed Rhetorical (NZ) (Snitzel) and Balance Of Power (NZ) (Almanzor) having earnings of $33,150 and $19,350 respectively.

Meanwhile, Forsman unveiled a strong contender for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic when Devastate (NZ) (Vadamos) dominated the $80,000 Group Three Elsdon Park Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki on November 24.

The powerful front-running performance was the third win of a four-start career for Devastate, who was a $160,000 purchase from Carlaw Park’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2021.

“There was no tempo in the race and we always thought we would be right up on the pace,” Forsman said. “It wasn’t going to be ideal, but he was good enough to get away with it.

“We’ll get him home and give him two weeks in the paddock and then get him ready for the Karaka Million (1600m) fresh-up. After that, we’ll go to the Guineas races and then hopefully on to the Derby (2400m).”


Six of the top 10 for Te Akau

Viva Vienna (NZ)

Te Akau Racing has won all of the last six editions of the Karaka Million 2YO, and their hand for 2023 continues to build. They now have six of the top 10 two-year-olds on the order of entry for the lucrative two-year-old feature.

Rhetorical and Balance Of Power sit in second and third spot, followed by Viva Vienna (NZ) (All Too Hard) in fourth with $18,600. 

The newest addition to that group is Tokyo Tycoon (NZ) (Satono Aladdin), who earned $8,400 with a smart debut win at Te Rapa on Saturday.

“He’s a little ripper,” said Michael McNab, who rode Tokyo Tycoon to that first-up win. “He never lost focus and stuck to the task and chased and chased. When he got past the second horse, he kept going on.

“Opie (Bosson) won on him at the trials and gave him a good push and he very rarely gets it wrong. Troy (Harris) rides in work and said the same thing, and they’re good judges.”

Tokyo Tycoon was a $125,000 purchase by David Ellis from the draft of Rich Hill Stud in Book 1 of Karaka 2022.

Te Akau’s trainer Mark Walker sees the gelding as a promising Karaka Million prospect.

“He’s a nice horse going forward,” Walker said. “He’s quite a light-framed horse, so he’ll probably only have one more run ahead of the Karaka Million.”

This weekend’s most significant race from a Karaka Million point of view is at Trentham on Saturday, with the running of the $140,000 Group Two Mode Technology Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m).