Andrew Forsman sent out an early race to race double at Caulfield on Saturday as Mr Maestro (Savabeel – Let Me Roar) reinforced his Derby credentials by landing the Gr.3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) a race after stablemate Saint Bathans had scored in BenchMark 80 company.
A son of Savabeel, Mr Maestro made it three wins in succession with a dogged victory over the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Muramasa.
Ridden by Harry Coffey, Mr Maestro dropped back to the rear of the field from the jump before making a searching early run to wear down the runner-up, with the pair set to clash next start in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m).
“Muramasa made him work. It didn’t really pan out as we would have liked,” Forsman said.
"Small field, slowly run and I was a little bit nervous that it might pan out like that, but we had to be confident that he was the best horse.
“He had to do a bit of work. Harry probably had to get on his bike a furlong earlier than he would have really wanted but it worked out from there.”
Forsman, who up until April this year trained in partnership with the now retired Murray Baker, knows what it takes to win a Derby and hopes Mr Maestro can emulate his close relative Lion Tamer, who strolled to victory for the stable in the Flemington feature back in 2010.
“This guy keeps improving like Lion Tamer did. He was in Sydney early before he went to run in the Derby, and he struggled in a couple of runs there then the penny dropped at The Valley that day (when second in the Gr.2 Vase, 2040m) to win the Derby impressively and hopefully this guy can replicate it,” Forsman said.
Now the winner of four of his nine starts, Mr Maestro has earned in excess of A$300,000 and is a $3.50 favourite for the Derby on October 29.
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 Lion Tamer.
The in-form Cambridge trainer was also pleased to see Saint Bathans win his second race from four starts in Melbourne this campaign, when given a perfect ride by jockey Dean Holland to take out the Lamaro's Hotel Grand Handicap (1700m).
A son of Maurice, Saint Bathans was a A$75,000 weanling purchase by Pinhook Bloodstock’s Dave Mee on behalf of New Zealand owners Hayden and Lisa Dillon, and the quirky customer has been a work in-progress for Forsman but settled well under Holland.
“He is hard work, but Dean managed him brilliantly,” Forsman said.
“That was a ten out of ten ride and that was the winning of the race. The horse is improving slowly and he has a heap of ability which is nice moving forward. We will just work him through the grades, but there are a lot of options.”
Forsman also brought up another milestone, with four-year-old mare Mustang Valley providing him with his first Group One victory in a solo training capacity, when she ran out a dominant winner of the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings later in the day. – NZ Racing Desk