Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have set their sights on another Derby triumph in Australia.
In the past 11 years, the stable has had success in seven trans-Tasman Derbys, including the 2010 Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington with Lion Tamer (NZ) (Storming Home).
Baker and Forsman this week entered both Samarkand (NZ) (Mongolian Khan) and Daario (Real Impact) for this year’s race on October 30, with Mongolian Khan gelding Samarkand flying to Melbourne on Tuesday.
“It’s a long throw at the stumps, right from the boundary,” Baker said of his Derby bid.
“It’s just a nomination for them both. Daario is still a maiden but it looks like he’ll stay. We’ll find a 2000m maiden for him next week and see how he goes from there.
“We sent over Samarkand last night. We haven’t yet committed to a programme but he’s out of a three-quarter sister to Efficient and we think he can stay all right.”
Samarkand has had five starts, running fourth in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) and fifth in the Listed Auckland Futurity (1400m), both at Ellerslie last season, before flanking a 7 1/4-length 1600m maiden win at Tauranga with second placings at his three starts so far as a three-year-old.
TAB bookmakers have Samarkand as a $34 shot for the Derby, with Real Impact gelding Daario at $51.