Callsign Mav upset the apple cart when winning at odds of +8200 in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings last September, but he won’t start at such a lucrative price when he contests another 1400m weight-for-age feature on Saturday.
The John Bary-trained gelding came of age over the spring, also placing in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m), and he has continued his impressive form line over the summer, placing in the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) in December before winning over 1400m at Awapuni last start, carrying 63kg.
Bary was pleased with his effort under the large impost and he said Callsign Mav has been thriving at his Hawke’s Bay property in the lead-up to the Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“It was a different plan to what we all envisioned, but he got around, balanced up in the straight and came home hard at them,” Bary said.
“It has really helped with his confidence again and ticked the box of winning away from the Hastings track.
“He has held his weight really well. He is exactly the same weight today as the Friday before he won, carrying 63kg.
“He had an exhibition gallop with Jonathan (Riddell, jockey) on him here at Hastings at the end of January, and that went extremely well.
“I have held him here at home for the fact that I have my own track and I know he gets the first use of it and it’s always watered – it’s perfect for him.
“He is fit, he has been racing all season, so I am not going to make him any fitter. It’s just a case of ticking him over and keeping the work up to him, and we have done that.
“I am really happy with where he is at.”
While he was an upset victor in the spring, TAB bookmakers have held the son of Atlante short in the market for Saturday’s Group One, installing him as an +700 third favourite behind Avantage (+110) and Levante (+130).
Bary is looking forward to once again testing his charge over 1400m at weight-for-age level on Saturday.
“It seems to be his pet distance by the fact that he has won over it a few times now. In saying that it is a Group One weight-for-age and he thrives on that as well,” he said.
Callsign Mav has drawn barrier 10 in the 11 horse field, but that bodes no concerns for his trainer.
“It doesn’t worry me,” Bary said. “He seems to have drawn wide his entire life. He is a big striding horse and it’s a nice long run down that back straight before we have to find a position.”
All going to plan after Saturday, Callsign Mav will head to Otaki later this month to contest the Group 1 El Cheapo Cars Group 1 WFA Classic (1600m).
“Coming through it safe, he will go to Otaki two weeks later,” Bary said. “We have got another couple of things we would like to do to try and stretch him out over 2000m, but we will get through these next two races first.”