Fogden taking Golden Slipper experience in her stride

By Dennis Ryan

17 Mar 2022

Fogden taking Golden Slipper experience in her strideKacy Fogden pictured at last week’s National Yearling Sale.

“I liked him from the first time I saw him and really wanted him, so it’s great that he’s backed up my judgement.”
Kacy Fogden has come a long way in a short time, but that won’t stop her maintaining a business as usual approach to Saturday’s Golden Slipper Stakes.
A decade after heading to Australia with her only qualification being “always able to ride horses”, the 29-year-old from Horowhenua now finds herself with the lofty responsibility of training one of the leading candidates for the world’s richest juvenile race, unbeaten Snitzel colt Best Of Bordeaux.
“After growing up with my grandfather (Ashley) and father (Matthew) both trainers, horses were about all I knew,” Fogden told RaceForm earlier this week. “A lot of my riding was on Waikawa Beach, between Te Horo and Otaki. I would ride all the way up to Otaki and back.”
The late Ashley Fogden made his name with horses that needed the healing powers of beach and salt-water training, including star 1970s weight-for-age galloper Duty Free, the winner of 21 races. Originally trained at Takanini by George Cameron, the hardy gelding rounded off his career with Fogden by winning the Trentham Stakes and Ormond Memorial as a nine-year-old.
Another quality performer was Speculation, who in the early 1980s won the Gr. 1 George Adams Handicap at Trentham and International Stakes at Te Rapa. But in spite of that background, thoughts of big-race success didn’t exist in Kacy Fogden’s mind when she crossed the Tasman on her OE as an 18-year-old.
“I’ve never been career-driven, I’m not what you’d call ambitious,” confessed Fogden, now married to respected bloodstock agent Julian Blaxland and the mother of daughters Eva (7) and Isabelle (2). “I guess I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time working on a property that was bought by Tony Fung, and it’s all gone from there.”
That south-east Queensland property is now the main starting point for horses in Fung’s massive Aquis portfolio, and since 2015 Fogden has been a key player. Horses that have come through the system include Mo’unga and Farnan, and while the Aquis list is far longer, that pair have currency with Fogden.
Being a New Zealand passport holder, last week she was sent on mission to the Karaka National Yearling Sale, where she admits she was taken out of her comfort zone bidding on top-tier yearlings for Aquis. Her list was headed by Waikato Stud’s Savabeel-Chandelier colt, a brother to Mo’unga and the winner of the Gr. 1 Rosehill Guineas and Winx Stakes for principal Aquis trainer Annabel Neasham.
“Mo’unga has been a fantastic horse for us and obviously coming from New Zealand and Waikato Stud, it wasn’t hard to like his full-brother. It was nerve-wracking though, especially when we weren’t supposed to go past $1 million, so I guess we were pretty lucky to get him for that and no more.”
Farnan won the 2020 Golden Slipper for Aquis and now commands a service fee of A$50,000 at Kia Ora Stud. Hopes for another Golden Slipper win for Aquis now hinge on Best Of Bordeaux, who Fogden bid A$425,000 for with Fung’s backing at last year’s Magic Millions Sale and persuaded his breeder, MM boss Gerry Harvey, to stay in the ownership.
“I liked him from the first time I saw him and really wanted him, so it’s great that he’s backed up my judgement,” says Fogden, who held Best Of Bordeaux back until late January before lining him up in a quality race, the Gr. 3 Canonbury Stakes at Rosehill.
He led and won well in that race and three weeks later repeated over the same 1100m trip in the Gr. 2 Silver Slipper, a well-recognised test ahead of the big one. Fogden then decided to back herself and the horse by settling on a trial last Friday at Warwick Farm rather than another race as the final Golden Slipper lead-up.
“He’s clean-winded and I’d always had it in mind not to go into the Slipper fourth-up,” she explained. “The trial worked out well against older horses; he jumped well and Sam (Clipperton) just eased him back and he won without having to do too much.”
Fogden isn’t what you’d describe as bursting with confidence about her unbeaten colt’s prospects ahead of the weekend. After all this is the Golden Slipper, a race that has been won by only one other New Zealand-born trainer, Hall of Famer Graeme Rogerson, all of 19 years ago with Polar Success.
“When I look at some of the horses he’ll be up against, they’re absolute beasts alongside my guy. But I know what he’s capable of, he’s drawn well in the middle of the field, and he doesn’t have to lead but if he has to he can burn the candle at both ends.
“I’m doing my best to keep all those sorts of things out my mind though, it will be all about treating this week like any other. Here’s hoping you might say!”