A powerful Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) audition by Mr Maestro capped a special day at the office at Flemington on Saturday for Andrew Forsman.
The Cambridge trainer saddled two runners, and both won stakes races. Group One-winning filly She’s Licketysplit took out the Gr.2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m), and then four hours later in the final race on the card, Mr Maestro strode to a dominant win in the Listed ABC Bullion Super Impose Stakes (1800m).
“It’s been a great day, two for two and I’m really rapt with how the team’s going here,” Forsman said.
“Aoife Brennan is here in Melbourne, she’s done a magnificent job, she’s been here the whole time, I’ve only been backwards and forwards, so she’s done all the hard work and a lot of the credit goes to her.”
A comfortable last-start winner of the Victoria Derby Preview over the same course and distance on September 18, Mr Maestro upped the ante on Saturday with a super-impressive performance on a good surface.
Ridden by Damian Lane, the Savabeel colt was always travelling the best in the 12-horse field and quickly asserted his superiority in the home straight. He opened up a commanding advantage before being eased down through the final 75m and crossing the finish line two lengths clear.
“It was a solid clip throughout, and as the leaders started to get a little tired, he just towed me into the race and was travelling so well turning for home,” Lane said.
“His improvement since he’s been here has been quite incredible. When he turned up at Sandown for his first run here, he was a little bit heavy, and he was woolly with a New Zealand winter coat on him. He ran well there, but I couldn’t have foreseen the improvement that he’s made. Just each run he’s improved, particularly the last two and particularly last run to this run.
“He just looked magnificent in the yard, and even going around to the start he just felt really switched on. He’s such a green horse that he’s learning all the time and I think that’s helping his improvement even further.”
Now the winner of three of his eight starts, Mr Maestro has moved into $4.50 favouritism in the TAB’s market for the Victoria Derby on October 29.
“I think he actually looked better in his action on top of the ground today, which is great going forward,” Forsman said. “We haven’t locked in any other races yet, but we’ll just pick out whatever suits him best going into the Derby.”
Mr Maestro was purchased by Forsman out of Windsor Park Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $100,000.
The colt is out of six-time winner Let Me Roar, who was Group Two placed for Forsman and former training partner Murray Baker and is a half-sister to the stable’s Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer.