Gavin Forbes and Louies Girl are not following the script

By Frank Marrion, courtesy of the HarnessXpress

This just isn’t supposed to happen. 

A Southland hobby trainer with just the odd horse in work downing the might of the All Stars in a race for two-year-old fillies at Addington.

A ‘stallion’ with no more than one foal per crop beating up on fillies by Bettor’s Delight and Captaintreacherous.

But that is exactly what happened at Addington last Friday night when the Lord Forbes filly Louies Girl downed Treacherous Baby and Madrid.

And it could easily happen again in a Group 1 at Addington on Sunday when Louies Girl tackles the $110,000 Ace of Diamonds and pretty much the same fillies.

For breeder-owner Gavin Forbes, who trains out of Oreti Beach after giving the game away for several years, Louies Girl was his first win at Addington since Lord Forbes won there in June, 2008.

“He was actually in the name of Ray Faithful at the time as I had a son that needed to be in hospital for a while,” said Forbes.

“Ray started him three times and he won three times for him.”

Forbes trained Lord Forbes for his other 115 races however and would have been training Louies Girl, but for handing him over to Craig Ferguson when she was ready for the trials in early October.

“Part of the reason for that is that Louies Girl is so damn lazy it’s hard work just getting her to jog. She jogs like a donkey.

“With Craig having the swimming pool at the Wyndham track, she has the choice to sink or swim.

“Craig says you can slip a little extra work into them without them really knowing that way.

“Lord Forbes was really lazy like that himself and so is Huki Fella.

“You have to take his ear plugs out just to get him going in the prelim.

“But they’re all fine once they have a horse alongside them.”

Three-year-old Huki Fella is Lord Forbes' first foal and had two wins and two seconds from four races in his latest prep for Ferguson before being freshened.

Louies Girl has impressively won her last three races to give Lord Forbes a 100% record and now he’s begun ‘stud duties’ at Macca Lodge.

“I’ve done three mares with him myself, including two of my own, and on Monday he went to Macca Lodge, where there’s another three mares waiting for him.

“Grant Hunt, who bred Lord Forbes, rang the other day to say he was sending a couple and there’s also been interest from as far afield as Auckland.

“I’ve been taking a lot of calls in recent days.”

One must really wonder just where all this is going after Forbes only got involved in the game again because he decided to breed a foal a year by Lord Forbes.

He now has four of them and doing their early educations led to him training Mach’s Back, who won a race at Winton in June to give Forbes his first win in over 12 years. That was at Winton with Nothingsweetaboutme, a half-sister to Lord Forbes that Forbes trained for a while for Hunt. That was not long after Lord Forbes’ last win in a Wyndham Cup, where he sat parked for the last lap before racing away to score by five lengths in 3.58 for the 3200m stand.

Soon after Lord Forbes finished third in an Invercargill Cup and he started in several features, including the New Zealand Cup when Monkey King beat Smoken Up in 2010.In all, Lord Forbes won 11 races and $149,000, setting several Southland records along the way.

“Lord Forbes was a tough wee horse but he also had early speed and won a two-year-old race at Winton beating Robyn’s Cullen.

“I’ve often wondered what he might have done if he’d been in a big stable actually.”

Louies Girl is a real chip off the block of Lord Forbes in many ways.

Also a dark bay horse, she clearly has the same ample speed and toughness, while also having a very similar temperament as Lord Forbes.

Or Lord Forbes has stamped her, like good sires do.

The now 18-year-old son of Live Or Die will never be commercial, but he clearly has plenty to offer.

While Forbes has long held Louies Girl in high regard, her rapid progress has been a pleasant surprise for Craig Ferguson and Mark Hurrell, the latter driving her to her first two wins recently.

She was showing promise when she raced in the Kindergarten and Diamond Creek Farm Classic in the autumn, finishing sixth on each occasion in her first two starts.

Then Ferguson drove Louies Girl for the first time in a maiden at Winton, where she performed poorly in finishing last and was tipped out.

“She was crook that day but she’d probably come to the end of it as well,” said Fergsuon.

“She was working well enough when she came to me, but I didn’t really have any expectations given her breeding – I didn’t know what to think.

“Her first win suggested it was worth thinking about a trip to Canterbury, but then she went to another level again.

“Her last three runs have each been a big step up each time and she’s surprised me with how much she’s improved.

“The harder they go, the more she likes it, and she’ll definitely run time with the right trip.

“She’s also still got a bit of filling out to do, so she has the makings of a really nice filly next year.”

Louies Girl initially went two slashing trials with Hurrell driving.

In the first of them she would have been giving the leader around 15 lengths at the half, which they ran in 58 with Louies Girl storming home to be beaten less than three lengths.

When she resumed in a maiden at Winton, Louies Girl worked to an early lead and left them to it, winning by six and a half lengths in 1.57.4, home in 27.5 on an easy track. Then in a race for two-year-old fillies at Wyndham, Louies Girl led before trailing Raklou, and winning by almost two lengths in 1.55.4, home in 26.7.

Taking on the top two-year-old fillies at Addington from a second line draw was supposed to be a whole new ballgame however. Nobody told Louies Girl though.

Four back in the running line before Ferguson made his move passing the 400m, Louies Girl came five wide and powered home over the top of them, with Mark Purdon’s surprised glances across from the runner-up Treacherous Baby probably summing things up.

Louies Girl has drawn eight on Sunday, but they’re probably going to go hard, so staying out of the early rush could easily work in her favour.

Louies Girl is the first foal that Forbes has bred from One Bad Dream, a Badlands Hanover mare that Forbes bought a few years ago along with her dam, Dream Angel, from Murray Little.

Dream Angel is a Dream Away sister to One Dream and produced Mach’s Back (9 wins) and Lou’s Dream along with the dam of Christianshavtime (1.55.4, 6 NZ wins, $92,000).

Lou’s Dream has won six races in Queensland this year, the latest at Albion Park recently in 1.53.6.

“Murray had just got a few too many mares around him and I jumped at the chance to buy Dream Angel and One Bad Dream.”

One Bad Dream has also produced a yearling filly by Captain Crunch and Dream Angel has just left a filly foal by him, but they’re both going to Lord Forbes this season.

Forbes has also bred a weanling colt by Lord Forbes from Dream Angel, while his fourth one by him is a yearling colt from the Lis Mara mare Livy Franco.

Forbes is going to race the latter colt with his 90-year-old auntie Val Heads and her daughter Judy who runs their farm at Edendale.

“I’ve given that one to Alex Milne nearby and he kind of keeps Val going.

“He’s a good size and has a neck on him like a stallion despite being gelded.

“In fact he’s built like Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

 

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