Gai Waterhouse-trained Forever Loved and imported galloper Contributer impressed onlookers with strong barrier trial victories at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Forever Loved was pushed forward to take up the running in the early stages of the second barrier trial over 1200 metres and she led throughout to record a comfortable victory over a fast-finishing Big Memory and stablemate Queenstown.
The High Chaparral mare was sent to the spelling paddock after she finished at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, but she showed she was capable of winning at Group level when she took out the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 4.
Big Memory stamped himself as a stayer to watch when he took out the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and finished second in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and looks set for a big autumn campaign after storming home to finish second in a strong barrier trial effort.
2014 Spring Champion Stakes winner Hampton Court was under pressure a long way from home in the 1200 metre barrier trial and he weakened substantially in the final stages to finish towards the tail of the field.
Contributer missed the start in the third barrier trial of the morning over 1000 metres, but he was quickly pushed forward to settle in third position behind Anthony Cummings-trained Aomen and imported galloper Boogie Shoes.
Contributer was kept under a heavy hold until the 200 metre mark, but he sprinted well when asked for an extra effort to quickly put pay to his rivals and record a comfortable barrier trial win.
The High Chaparral entire made his Australian racing debut with an impressive win in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18 and he was not disgraced when beaten as favourite in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8.
Trainer John O’Shea revealed last month that Contributer would likely start his 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 before he either travels to Melbourne for the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 or remains in Sydney for the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens a week later.