Manawatu Challenge for Callsign Mav

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Callsign Mav

Hastings galloper Callsign Mav came of age at his home track over the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival and has now been sent for a quick freshen-up ahead of summer targets. The John Bary-trained four-year-old was an upset victor of the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) first-up before putting in a herculean effort to finish third behind star mare Melody Belle and Avantage in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m).

The two runs have taken their toll on the son of Atlante who is currently enjoying some time away from the track. “He was pretty tired (after the Windsor Park Plate) and we put him out in the paddock. We felt he had two really tough runs on firmish tracks,” Bary said. “We are really proud of him. No one mentioned he gave 1.5kg away to the two mares that ran him down (last start).”

While the rich A$7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill later this month was a possibility for Callsign Mav, Bary elected against heading across the Tasman. He has alternatively circled the Group 2 Kevin Pratt Memorial Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni in December as his charge’s next major assignment.

“We threw a nom in (for the Golden Eagle) because they were free, but the Golden Eagle is right-handed and he has never raced right-handed, which is a worry,” Bary said. “I just felt there was a chink in his armour on the second day (Windsor Park Plate). We went forward on him because we had to from the wide draw and then he was quite strong down the back straight.

“We don’t know whether that’s because we dug him up or if he was chasing that tearaway leader, The Mitigator. If you are going to Australia, in my experience, you have got to be bomb proof. “He’s going to get three weeks total (in the paddock) and then he will come back in and we will probably set him for that weight-for-age Group 2 (Manawatu Challenge Stakes) at Awapuni in December.”

Bary said he would take a patient approach with Callsign Mav and he still has a bit of maturing to do. “I am big on preserving the horse,” he said. “He is still growing mentally and physically. We have just got to look after him and educate him. He still hasn’t won a race away from Hastings, so that’s our next big aim, to win a race away from Hastings.”

Meanwhile, Bary is pleased with his own progress since undergoing his second back surgery a month ago, which meant he missed watching Callsign Mav’s Group 1 win in person. “It’s been a month since the second operation and I am getting around nicely, but just a bit ginger,” he said. “I am just trying to stop myself from doing too much, which is the hardest thing.”

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