Charmont scores Group One breakthrough on huge day for Baker-Forsman team Sat, 08 Apr 2017

Richard Edmunds
Charmont (Matt Cameron, middle) edges out Thee Auld Floozie and Mime in an exciting finish to the Breeders' Stakes.
Charmont (Matt Cameron, middle) edges out Thee Auld Floozie and Mime in an exciting finish to the Breeders' Stakes.
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The unstoppable Murray Baker-Andrew Forsman juggernaut continued on both sides of the Tasman today, with Bonneval’s Australian Oaks preceded by a richly deserved Group One breakthrough by blue-blooded mare Charmont in the Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Rapa.

The High Chaparral mare, a granddaughter of the multiple Group One winner and Melbourne Cup runner-up Champagne, had earned herself a reputation as a perennial bridesmaid. She had won just two of her first 21 starts, but along the way she placed in the New Zealand Oaks, Royal Stakes, Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic, Sunline Vase, Manawatu Classic and South Island Breeders’ Stakes.

Charmont finally broke through for a first black-type win in the Listed Wairarapa Breeders’ Stakes in February, and today was her day in the Group One sun.

The five-year-old was overlooked in the lead-up to today’s $200,000 fillies and mares’ feature and was the sixth favourite at 16-to-one.

But Charmont was patiently ridden by Matt Cameron, who had his mount within striking distance throughout the 1600-metre race but didn’t panic when others began making their moves before the home turn. He waited until the 200-metre mark, when he brought Charmont to the outside to make her bid.

By that point the favourite Thee Auld Floozie had produced her trademark finishing burst and opened up a clear lead, but Charmont linked up with stablemate Mime and began to quickly eat into that margin.

It turned into a three-horse battle to the finish, with Charmont diving through between her two more-favoured rivals and scoring by a head.

Charmont has now had 24 starts for four wins, 12 placings and more than $290,000 in stakes for her owner-breeder Bob Emery.

“That was a great win and she really deserves it,” Forsman said. “She’s been Group One placed and she’s been thereabouts in really strong races all the way through her career.

“I’m rapt for Bob Emery. He’s been a great owner, very patient. He’s let us do our own thing and place her right. This is a great result for him. I’m gutted he’s not here today – he’s a bit crook at home at the moment. Hopefully this will help him pick up a little bit.”

Charmont has compiled an outstanding record at Te Rapa, where she has now started seven times for two wins and three placings. She is likely to return there later this month for another fillies and mares’ feature, this time over 2000 metres.

“Obviously the Travis Stakes is a possible target, both for her and for Mime,” Forsman said. “Mime is another mare who’s gone close in a lot of really good races and deserves to win a big one. She went another top race today.”

Charmont’s win was part of another landmark day for the Baker-Forsman team, with Love Affair and Let Me Roar also winning at Te Rapa in addition to Bonneval’s brilliance at Randwick. Recent weeks have also featured Group One wins for Jon Snow in the Australian Derby and Lizzie L’Amour in the New Zealand Stakes.

Notably, today’s Group One-winning stablemates Bonneval and Charmont share the third dam L’Quiz.

“It’s amazing to have a run like this,” Forsman said. “I guess you just have to make the most of it and enjoy it while it lasts, because then you can also have times where nothing seems to go your way. When that’s happening, the harder you try, the worse things seem to get.

“This run of results has been a real credit to all of the great staff we’ve got at home.”