By Ray Hickson
Everything about trainer Gary Colvin’s approach to Forever Newyork’s bid for the Country Championships has been very deliberate.
The Wagga Wagga trainer had a throw at the stumps last year with the gelding and qualified for the final but this time around he’s carefully marked every step.
With his district qualifier less than a month away, Forever Newyork kicks off his charge towards the Country Championships at Warwick Farm on Saturday in the TAB Highway Handicap (1200m).
“I didn’t approach it well, I didn’t plan it last year. I just threw him in and said let’s see how he goes,’’ Colvin said.
“I think the Albury run just flattened him and he probably wasn’t ready for it. But it was a good experience for him.
“This time we have planned it well and he’ll be spot on to have a real crack at it.’’
Forever Newyork was a three-year-old when he ran second in the Albury Qualifier in 2017 but he didn’t handle the heavy track in the final at Randwick and beat two home.
Now he’s a year older and he’ll be on home turf when this year's SDRA Qualifier is run at Wagga Wagga on March 4.
Colvin, who is hoping to have three runners in the Wagga Wagga heat, said Forever Newyork is quite forward for his resumption on Saturday and is expecting him to be very competitive. TAB opened the gelding as a $26 chance.
“You’re better off taking them to the better races to get them spot on,’’ he said.
“He went very well in a Highway at his last run (on December 9) and his next run was going to be his best but I had to consider the Championships and give him a break.
“He’ll improve on whatever he does but I have him more forward and ready to run this time. I want to see him run a very good race.’’
Jockey Bryan Murphy is making the trip to Warwick Farm to partner Forever Newyork on Saturday and will partner the gelding in the Qualifier next month.
He rode the four-year-old to a close second in a 1000m trial on his home track on Australia Day.
“Bryan’s been working on him and just fell in love with the horse,’’ Colvin said.
Forever Newyork's trial at Wagga Wagga on January 26
“He’s a very good horseman and this horse can bludge, he does what he has to. We’ve been doing a lot of work to get him switched on.
“Brian will be riding him at Wagga so he might as well ride him on Saturday.’’
Forever Newyork may have another run prior to the $150,000 SDRA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) on March 4 but Colvin will assess his run on Saturday first.
That run would most likely be at Canberra on February 23 while Plan B would be to give him another trial.
“I’ll make up my mind whether he needs another run, because he can be a gross sort of horse and I’ve got to have him spot on,’’ Colvin said.
Stablemate Superoo will be running for a berth in the Qualifier when he contests the final race at Wagga Wagga on Friday while Colvin is freshening Danetrille to give him a chance to win a spot in the $500,000 Country Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 7.