Danny O’Brien is hoping to add to Callsign Mav’s Group One haul this autumn and he will get his first chance at Sandown on Saturday.
The New Zealand-bred gelding already boasts four elite-level victories, including the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last September.
His Flemington trainer has been pleased with his performances in Australia and believes he will put in a good showing this weekend when he kicks off his preparation in the Gr.1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m).
“He came over as a warrior. He had already won a couple of Group Ones in New Zealand and he has been terrific here,” O’Brien told RSN.
“We have been very pleased that he broke his Group One duck in Australia over the spring. Every time he goes to the races he gives a good effort.
“Jamie Mott (jockey) has got a great relationship with him and I am sure he will gives us a good ride again on Saturday.
“He has got a very good fresh record, I think he has been first or second in all but one of his first-up runs. He is such a competitor, you have got to give him a chance every time he goes to the races.”
O’Brien will also line-up fellow Kiwi-bred Young Werther in the Gr.3 Carlyon Cup (1600m), a race Callsign Mav was runner-up in last year.
The son of Tavistock was Group One placed in the spring and O’Brien believes he is capable of upsetting first-up over a mile.
“We were very happy with him (in the spring) other than the Melbourne Cup (Gr.1, 3200m, when 15th),” O’Brien said.
“We just put it down to the two miles being a bridge too far for him. He travelled with Gold Trip until about the 600m and then he was out of tickets when they straightened and didn’t run a strong two miles.
“He only had four races over the spring and didn’t have a taxing time of it. He seems to have bounced out of it really well.”
O’Brien believes dropping back to Group Three company will also aid his cause.
“He had a nice trial at Geelong and I think a mile first-up is a good set-up for him,” he said.
“His two runs before the Cup, he was beaten three lengths in the Cox Plate (Gr.1, 2040m) and a length and a half in the Turnbull Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m). It is good enough form to be running really well in a much weaker race on Saturday.”
All going to plan, the Gr.1 Australian Cup (2000m) next month appears to be the logical aim for Young Werther.
“I think he is a very difficult horse to place,” O’Brien said.
“I don’t think we are ever going to look at running him beyond 2400m.
“Ideally we would find a handicap race at 2000m or 2400m. There is not a lot of that around so you are forced to push him towards an Australian Cup.”