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New Zealand Racing News
Wednesday, April 05 2017

The win of Jon Snow in last Saturday's Gr.1 ATC Derby in Sydney has raised the international profile of Cambridge-based trainer Andrew Forsman.

Andrew Forsman - Trish Dunell

Since 2012, the polished 34-year-old has trained in partnership with New Zealand training great Murray Baker and the combination has enjoyed enviable success in that time.

Plundering Australian riches is something Baker has down to a fine art. No New Zealand-based trainer has prepared more Australian Group One winners, with Baker's haul of 19 equal to his great mate John Wheeler.

While Jon Snow was the stable's fourth ATC Derby winner in the past nine years, Baker was watching from afar last Saturday.

Instead, it was the modest, yet articulate, Forsman fronting media and taking the accolades.

A talented horseman in his own right, Forsman has been a mainstay at the Baker stable for the past 14 years after initially pondering a different career.

Upon leaving school, Forsman studied film and television in Auckland and took a part-time job as a cameraman for [New Zealand Racing broadcaster] Trackside, basing himself in Cambridge and supplementing his income working for Baker.

"I was doing the two jobs, but I realised my heart was really in the horse racing rather than the camera work and I'd rather do something I was passionate about,'' he said.

Baker said it was obvious from the beginning that Forsman was going to rise through the ranks.

"I thought he had potential. He picked up racing very quickly and he was a very good worker," he said.

Forsman was stable foreman when Baker trained in partnership with his son Bjorn and got a taste of trans-Tasman success travelling to Australia with Derby winners Lion Tamer and Nom du Jeu.

When Bjorn left Cambridge to train in Sydney, Forsman was elevated to assistant trainer and then training partner and hasn't looked back.

"Murray has been very good to me and I certainly have a lot to thank him for," Forsman said. "His experience and ability to identify the right horses to take to Australia means his record is second to none, but he doesn't really talk himself up, or possibly get the accolades he deserves."

While his grandfather had an owner-trainer's licence, it is fair to say that a career in racing might not have been what Forsman's dairy-farming family had pictured for him.

"Mum wasn't too sure and was a bit anti initially, but they have been very supportive," Forsman said.

Forsman said his parents, along with wife Sara and children Maija and Hugo, had been his biggest fans and were very understanding of the hours required in a demanding profession.

"It has been fun and having a job you enjoy is very rewarding. It is hard work and long hours, so it is nice to spend time with the family where racing isn't the focus."

While Forsman has enjoyed being associated with racetrack stars the ilk of Dundeel, Mongolian Khan, Turn Me Loose and Lion Tamer, Group One glory at Royal Randwick is the exception rather than the norm.

"For every success there are four or five failures and owners to console. People really only see the glamourous side," he said.

Making Jon Snow's Derby success even sweeter was the fact Forsman had sourced the horse for a first-time group of owners.

"Bjorn put me on to Bart Zame, who runs the family syndicate which purchased the horse, and we struck up a good relationship," Forsman said.

"I told him the horses I liked at the yearling sales and we were able to get Jon Snow at the right price."

"At the time, Turn Me Loose was a three-year-old and they had similar qualities — there was a lot to like about the horse and his sire Iffraaj was under-rated at the time," Forsman said.

Senior training partner Baker has jetted into Sydney, where Bonneval will aim to credit the Baker/Forsman team with yet another Group One success when she contests Saturday's Gr.1 ATC Oaks.

The wily conditioner has been delighted with the stable's success in recent years and believes the training partnership with Forsman has given him a new lease on life.

"It was terrific to see Andrew get the accolades last weekend. He's got youthful enthusiasm and he understands horses and the industry," Baker said.

"He is very, very good at PR and is great with the owners and takes a lot of the pressure off me."

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 12:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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